Background: Structured care processes that provide a framework for how oncologists can incorporate geriatric assessment (GA) into clinical practice could improve outcomes for vulnerable older adults with cancer, a growing population at high risk of toxicity from cancer treatment. We sought to obtain consensus from an expert panel on the use of GA in clinical practice and to develop algorithms of GA-guided care processes. Methods: The Delphi technique, a well-recognized structured and reiterative process to reach consensus, was used. Participants were geriatric oncology experts who attended NIH-funded U13 or Cancer and Aging Research Group conferences. Consensus was defined as an interquartile range of 2 or more units, or 66.7% or greater, selecting a utility/helpfulness rating of 7 or greater on a 10-point Likert scale. For nominal data, consensus was defined as agreement among 66.7% or more of the group. Results: From 33 invited, 30 participants completed all 3 rounds. Most experts (75%) used GA in clinical care, and the remainder were involved in geriatric oncology research. The panel met consensus that “all patients aged 75 years or older and those who are younger with age-related health concerns” should undergo GA and that all domains (function, physical performance, comorbidity/polypharmacy, cognition, nutrition, psychological status, and social support) should be included. Consensus was met for how GA could guide nononcologic interventions and cancer treatment decisions. Algorithms for GA-guided care processes were developed. Conclusions: This Delphi investigation of geriatric oncology experts demonstrated that GA should be performed for older patients with cancer to guide care processes.
Supriya Gupta Mohile, Carla Velarde, Arti Hurria, Allison Magnuson, Lisa Lowenstein, Chintan Pandya, Anita O'Donovan, Rita Gorawara-Bhat and William Dale
Cynthia Owusu, Harvey Jay Cohen, Tao Feng, William Tew, Supriya G. Mohile, Heidi D. Klepin, Cary P. Gross, Ajeet Gajra, Stuart M. Lichtman, Arti Hurria and on behalf of the Cancer and Aging Research Group (CARG)
Objectives: Anemia is associated with functional disability among older adults in general. However, the relationship between anemia and functional disability has not been well characterized among older adults with cancer. Therefore, we examined the association between anemia and functional disability in patients with cancer aged 65 years or older. Patients and Methods: We conducted cross-sectional analysis of data derived from a multicenter prospective study of 500 patients with cancer aged 65 years or older. The primary outcome was functional disability at chemotherapy initiation, defined as the need for assistance with at least one instrumental activity of daily living. Anemia (using WHO criteria) was defined as a hemoglobin (Hb) level of less than 12 g/dL in women and less than 13 g/dL in men. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the association between anemia and functional disability. Results: Among 491 evaluable patients (median age, 73.1 years [range, 65–91 years]), the prevalence of functional disability and anemia was 43% and 51%, respectively. Compared with patients without anemia, patients with anemia were more likely to report functional disability. On multivariable analysis, adjusting for sex, stage, and unintentional weight loss, patients with anemia were more likely to have functional disability (odds ratio, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.61–3.59). Conclusions: Anemia was highly prevalent and independently associated with functional disability in this cohort of older adults with cancer. Given the importance of functional status in cancer treatment decision-making, longitudinal studies evaluating the causal relation between anemia and functional status among older patients with cancer are warranted to evaluate causality.
Laura Bourdeanu, Thehang Luu, Norma Baker, Suzanne Swain-Cabriales, Cathie T. Chung, Joanne Mortimer, Arti Hurria, Sandra Helton, David Smith, Betty Ferrell, Gloria Juarez and George Somlo
Delays between presentation and treatment could have a significant effect on breast cancer mortality. The authors hypothesized that patient, physician, and system barriers are all responsible for treatment delays. Therefore, a study was conducted to define prevalent barriers to treatment from the patient’s perspective. A modified 43-item Likert-scale questionnaire was administered to patients with clinical stage III locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) who had experienced a delay in treatment of 3 months or more. Between October 2008 and January 2010, 153 patients presented with LABC; 43 patients (28.1%) met eligibility, and 40 completed the questionnaire. Among the patient barriers reported, 38% of patients delayed care for fear of losing their breast and 47% awaited previously scheduled routine appointments instead of seeking care. Among the physician barriers reported, 20% of physicians of initial contact did not believe the breast lump/symptom was related to cancer and 15% did not believe it needed a biopsy. Among the system barriers reported, the most prevalent were delays in performing diagnostic tests and obtaining insurance authorization for tests, treatment, or physician visits. Substantial delays were seen in 28.1% of patients from presentation to when they sought therapy at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. The high prevalence of patient barriers versus physician/system barriers suggests that increased educational efforts for patients and health care professionals are needed.
Joanne E. Mortimer, Andrea M. Barsevick, Charles L. Bennett, Ann M. Berger, Charles Cleeland, Shannon R. DeVader, Carmen Escalante, Jeffrey Gilreath, Arti Hurria, Tito R. Mendoza and Hope S. Rugo
NCCN convened a committee of experts to make recommendations for future studies of cancer-related fatigue (CRF). The committee reviewed the current data on the incidence, clinical measurement, and treatment of CRF. The assessment of fatigue is largely derived from self-report questionnaires that address the symptom of fatigue, and do not correlate the presence of fatigue with change in physical activity. The committee developed a self-report questionnaire, NCCN Fatigue and Contributing Factors Inventory, which incorporates assessments of fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, distress, physical activity, and concurrent medications. A clinical research study using this measure in conjunction with the NCCN Breast Cancer Outcomes Database Project is planned. The committee noted a strong interaction among fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, and distress and recommended that future clinical research address these interactions.
Supriya G. Mohile, Allison Magnuson, Chintan Pandya, Carla Velarde, Paul Duberstein, Arti Hurria, Kah Poh Loh, Megan Wells, Sandy Plumb, Nikesha Gilmore, Marie Flannery, Marsha Wittink, Ronald Epstein, Charles E. Heckler, Michelle Janelsins, Karen Mustian, Judith O. Hopkins, Jane Liu, Srihari Peri and William Dale
Background: This study's objectives were to describe community oncologists' beliefs about and confidence with geriatric care and to determine whether geriatric-relevant information influences cancer treatment decisions. Methods: Community oncologists were recruited to participate in 2 multisite geriatric oncology trials. Participants shared their beliefs about and confidence in caring for older adults. They were also asked to make a first-line chemotherapy recommendation (combination vs single-agent vs no chemotherapy) for a hypothetical vignette of an older patient with advanced pancreatic cancer. Each oncologist received one randomly chosen vignette that varied on 3 variables: age (72/84 years), impaired function (yes/no), and cognitive impairment (yes/no). Other patient characteristics were held constant. Logistic regression models were used to identify associations between oncologist/vignette-patient characteristics and treatment decisions. Results: Oncologist response rate was 61% (n=305/498). Most oncologists agreed that “the care of older adults with cancer needs to be improved” (89%) and that “geriatrics training is essential” (72%). However, <25% were “very confident” in recognizing dementia or conducting a fall risk or functional assessment, and only 23% reported using the geriatric assessment in clinic. Each randomly varied patient characteristic was independently associated with the decision to treat: younger age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 5.01; 95% CI, 2.73–9.20), normal cognition (aOR, 5.42; 95% CI, 3.01–9.76), and being functionally intact (aOR, 3.85; 95% CI, 2.12–7.00). Accounting for all vignettes across all scenarios, 161 oncologists (52%) said they would offer chemotherapy. All variables were independently associated with prescribing single-agent over combination chemotherapy (older age: aOR, 3.22; 95% CI 1.43–7.25, impaired cognition: aOR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.36–7.20, impaired function: aOR, 2.48; 95% CI, 1.12–5.72). Oncologists' characteristics were not associated with decisions about providing chemotherapy. Conclusion: Geriatric-relevant information, when available, strongly influences community oncologists' treatment decisions.
Arti Hurria, Ilene S. Browner, Harvey Jay Cohen, Crystal S. Denlinger, Mollie deShazo, Martine Extermann, Apar Kishor P. Ganti, Jimmie C. Holland, Holly M. Holmes, Mohana B. Karlekar, Nancy L. Keating, June McKoy, Bruno C. Medeiros, Ewa Mrozek, Tracey O’Connor, Stephen H. Petersdorf, Hope S. Rugo, Rebecca A. Silliman, William P. Tew, Louise C. Walter, Alva B. Weir III and Tanya Wildes
Arti Hurria, Tanya Wildes, Sarah L. Blair, Ilene S. Browner, Harvey Jay Cohen, Mollie deShazo, Efrat Dotan, Barish H. Edil, Martine Extermann, Apar Kishor P. Ganti, Holly M. Holmes, Reshma Jagsi, Mohana B. Karlekar, Nancy L. Keating, Beatriz Korc-Grodzicki, June M. McKoy, Bruno C. Medeiros, Ewa Mrozek, Tracey O’Connor, Hope S. Rugo, Randall W. Rupper, Rebecca A. Silliman, Derek L. Stirewalt, William P. Tew, Louise C. Walter, Alva B. Weir III, Mary Anne Bergman and Hema Sundar
Cancer is the leading cause of death in older adults aged 60 to 79 years. The biology of certain cancers and responsiveness to therapy changes with the patient’s age. Advanced age alone should not preclude the use of effective treatment that could improve quality of life or extend meaningful survival. The challenge of managing older patients with cancer is to assess whether the expected benefits of treatment are superior to the risk in a population with decreased life expectancy and decreased tolerance to stress. These guidelines provide an approach to decision-making in older cancer patients based on comprehensive geriatric assessment and also include diseasespecific issues related to age in the management of some cancer types in older adults.
Noam VanderWalde, Reshma Jagsi, Efrat Dotan, Joel Baumgartner, Ilene S. Browner, Peggy Burhenn, Harvey Jay Cohen, Barish H. Edil, Beatrice Edwards, Martine Extermann, Apar Kishor P. Ganti, Cary Gross, Joleen Hubbard, Nancy L. Keating, Beatriz Korc-Grodzicki, June M. McKoy, Bruno C. Medeiros, Ewa Mrozek, Tracey O'Connor, Hope S. Rugo, Randall W. Rupper, Dale Shepard, Rebecca A. Silliman, Derek L. Stirewalt, William P. Tew, Louise C. Walter, Tanya Wildes, Mary Anne Bergman, Hema Sundar and Arti Hurria
Cancer is the leading cause of death in older adults aged 60 to 79 years. Older patients with good performance status are able to tolerate commonly used treatment modalities as well as younger patients, particularly when adequate supportive care is provided. For older patients who are able to tolerate curative treatment, options include surgery, radiation therapy (RT), chemotherapy, and targeted therapies. RT can be highly effective and well tolerated in carefully selected patients, and advanced age alone should not preclude the use of RT in older patients with cancer. Judicious application of advanced RT techniques that facilitate normal tissue sparing and reduce RT doses to organs at risk are important for all patients, and may help to assuage concerns about the risks of RT in older adults. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on the recent updates to the 2016 NCCN Guidelines for Older Adult Oncology specific to the use of RT in the management of older adults with cancer.