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Screening Tool Identifies Older Adults With Cancer at Risk for Poor Outcomes

Ryan D. Nipp, Leah L. Thompson, Brandon Temel, Charn-Xin Fuh, Christine Server, Paul S. Kay, Sophia Landay, Daniel E. Lage, Lara Traeger, Erin Scott, Vicki A. Jackson, Nora K. Horick, Joseph A. Greer, Areej El-Jawahri, and Jennifer S. Temel

Background: Oncologists often struggle with managing the complex issues unique to older adults with cancer, and research is needed to identify patients at risk for poor outcomes. Methods: This study enrolled patients aged ≥70 years within 8 weeks of a diagnosis of incurable gastrointestinal cancer. Patient-reported surveys were used to assess vulnerability (Vulnerable Elders Survey [scores ≥3 indicate a positive screen for vulnerability]), quality of life (QoL; EORTC Quality of Life of Cancer Patients questionnaire [higher scores indicate better QoL]), and symptoms (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System [ESAS; higher scores indicate greater symptom burden] and Geriatric Depression Scale [higher scores indicate greater depression symptoms]). Unplanned hospital visits within 90 days of enrollment and overall survival were evaluated. We used regression models to examine associations among vulnerability, QoL, symptom burden, hospitalizations, and overall survival. Results: Of 132 patients approached, 102 (77.3%) were enrolled (mean [M] ± SD age, 77.25 ± 5.75 years). Nearly half (45.1%) screened positive for vulnerability, and these patients were older (M, 79.45 vs 75.44 years; P=.001) and had more comorbid conditions (M, 2.13 vs 1.34; P=.017) compared with nonvulnerable patients. Vulnerable patients reported worse QoL across all domains (global QoL: M, 53.26 vs 66.82; P=.041; physical QoL: M, 58.95 vs 88.24; P<.001; role QoL: M, 53.99 vs 82.12; P=.001; emotional QoL: M, 73.19 vs 85.76; P=.007; cognitive QoL: M, 79.35 vs 92.73; P=.011; social QoL: M, 59.42 vs 82.42; P<.001), higher symptom burden (ESAS total: M, 31.05 vs 15.00; P<.001), and worse depression score (M, 4.74 vs 2.25; P<.001). Vulnerable patients had a higher risk of unplanned hospitalizations (hazard ratio, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.08–5.27; P=.032) and worse overall survival (hazard ratio, 2.26; 95% CI, 1.14–4.48; P=.020). Conclusions: Older adults with cancer who screen positive as vulnerable experience a higher symptom burden, greater healthcare use, and worse survival. Screening tools to identify vulnerable patients should be integrated into practice to guide clinical care.

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Associations of Skeletal Muscle With Symptom Burden and Clinical Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients With Advanced Cancer

Emily van Seventer, J. Peter Marquardt, Amelie S. Troschel, Till D. Best, Nora Horick, Chinenye Azoba, Richard Newcomb, Eric J. Roeland, Michael Rosenthal, Christopher P. Bridge, Joseph A. Greer, Areej El-Jawahri, Jennifer Temel, Florian J. Fintelmann, and Ryan D. Nipp

Background: Low muscle mass (quantity) is common in patients with advanced cancer, but little is known about muscle radiodensity (quality). We sought to describe the associations of muscle mass and radiodensity with symptom burden, healthcare use, and survival in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer. Methods: We prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with advanced cancer from September 2014 through May 2016. Upon admission, patients reported their physical (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System [ESAS]) and psychological (Patient Health Questionnaire-4 [PHQ-4]) symptoms. We used CT scans performed per routine care within 45 days before enrollment to evaluate muscle mass and radiodensity. We used regression models to examine associations of muscle mass and radiodensity with patients’ symptom burden, healthcare use (hospital length of stay and readmissions), and survival. Results: Of 1,121 patients enrolled, 677 had evaluable muscle data on CT (mean age, 62.86 ± 12.95 years; 51.1% female). Older age and female sex were associated with lower muscle mass (age: B, –0.16; P<.001; female: B, –6.89; P<.001) and radiodensity (age: B, –0.33; P<.001; female: B, –1.66; P=.014), and higher BMI was associated with higher muscle mass (B, 0.58; P<.001) and lower radiodensity (B, –0.61; P<.001). Higher muscle mass was significantly associated with improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.97; P<.001). Notably, higher muscle radiodensity was significantly associated with lower ESAS-Physical (B, –0.17; P=.016), ESAS-Total (B, –0.29; P=.002), PHQ-4-Depression (B, –0.03; P=.006), and PHQ-4-Anxiety (B, –0.03; P=.008) symptoms, as well as decreased hospital length of stay (B, –0.07; P=.005), risk of readmission or death in 90 days (odds ratio, 0.97; P<.001), and improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.97; P<.001). Conclusions: Although muscle mass (quantity) only correlated with survival, we found that muscle radiodensity (quality) was associated with patients’ symptoms, healthcare use, and survival. These findings underscore the added importance of assessing muscle quality when seeking to address adverse muscle changes in oncology.

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Anal Carcinoma, Version 2.2023, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Al B. Benson III, Alan P. Venook, Mahmoud M. Al-Hawary, Nilofer Azad, Yi-Jen Chen, Kristen K. Ciombor, Stacey Cohen, Harry S. Cooper, Dustin Deming, Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, Jean L. Grem, J. Randolph Hecht, Sarah Hoffe, Joleen Hubbard, Steven Hunt, Hisham Hussan, William Jeck, Kimberly L. Johung, Nora Joseph, Natalie Kirilcuk, Smitha Krishnamurthi, Jennifer Maratt, Wells A. Messersmith, Jeffrey Meyerhardt, Eric D. Miller, Mary F. Mulcahy, Steven Nurkin, Michael J. Overman, Aparna Parikh, Hitendra Patel, Katrina Pedersen, Leonard Saltz, Charles Schneider, David Shibata, John M. Skibber, Constantinos T. Sofocleous, Eden Stotsky-Himelfarb, Anna Tavakkoli, Christopher G. Willett, Grant Williams, Frankie Algieri, Lisa Gurski, and Katie Stehman

This discussion summarizes the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines for managing squamous cell anal carcinoma, which represents the most common histologic form of the disease. A multidisciplinary approach including physicians from gastroenterology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, and radiology is necessary. Primary treatment of perianal cancer and anal canal cancer are similar and include chemoradiation in most cases. Follow-up clinical evaluations are recommended for all patients with anal carcinoma because additional curative-intent treatment is possible. Biopsy-proven evidence of locally recurrent or persistent disease after primary treatment may require surgical treatment. Systemic therapy is generally recommended for extrapelvic metastatic disease. Recent updates to the NCCN Guidelines for Anal Carcinoma include staging classification updates based on the 9th edition of the AJCC Staging System and updates to the systemic therapy recommendations based on new data that better define optimal treatment of patients with metastatic anal carcinoma.

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Colon Cancer, Version 3.2024, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Al B. Benson III, Alan P. Venook, Mohamed Adam, George Chang, Yi-Jen Chen, Kristen K. Ciombor, Stacey A. Cohen, Harry S. Cooper, Dustin Deming, Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, Jean L. Grem, Paul Haste, J. Randolph Hecht, Sarah Hoffe, Steven Hunt, Hisham Hussan, Kimberly L. Johung, Nora Joseph, Natalie Kirilcuk, Smitha Krishnamurthi, Midhun Malla, Jennifer K. Maratt, Wells A. Messersmith, Jeffrey Meyerhardt, Eric D. Miller, Mary F. Mulcahy, Steven Nurkin, Michael J. Overman, Aparna Parikh, Hitendra Patel, Katrina Pedersen, Leonard Saltz, Charles Schneider, David Shibata, Benjamin Shogan, John M. Skibber, Constantinos T. Sofocleous, Anna Tavakkoli, Christopher G. Willett, Christina Wu, Lisa A. Gurski, Jenna Snedeker, and Frankie Jones

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Management of disseminated metastatic CRC involves various active drugs, either in combination or as single agents. The choice of therapy is based on consideration of the goals of therapy, the type and timing of prior therapy, the mutational profile of the tumor, and the differing toxicity profiles of the constituent drugs. This manuscript summarizes the data supporting the systemic therapy options recommended for metastatic CRC in the NCCN Guidelines for Colon Cancer.