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  • Author: YunKyung Chang x
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Hanna K. Sanoff, YunKyung Chang, Joseph M. Stavas, Til Stürmer and Jennifer Lund

Background: Optimal administration of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), the standard approach for intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), requires clinical and technical expertise. We sought to evaluate whether TACE retains its effectiveness when administered across a broad range of health care settings. Furthermore, as the use of yttrium90 (Y90) radioembolization has been increasing, we explored the comparative effectiveness of Y90 as an alternative to TACE. Methods: Patients with HCC diagnosed from 2004 through 2009 treated initially with TACE or Y90 were identified from the SEER-Medicare linkage. Key covariates included prediagnosis α-fetoprotein (AFP) screening, complications of cirrhosis, and tumor extent. Effect of treatment, patient, and health care system factors on overall survival (OS) was evaluated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards. Stratified OS estimates are provided. Propensity score (PS) weighting was used to compare effectiveness of Y90 with TACE. Results: Of 1528 patients who underwent intra-arterial embolization, 577 received concurrent chemotherapy (eg, TACE). Median OS was 21 months (95% CI, 18–23) following TACE and 9 months (95% CI, 1–41) following Y90. Refined survival estimates stratified by stage, AFP screening, and liver comorbidity are presented. The 90-day mortality rate after TACE was 21% to 25% in patients with extrahepatic spread or vascular invasion. In the PS-weighted analysis, Y90 was associated with inferior survival, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.39 (95% CI, 1.02–1.90). Conclusions: The effectiveness of TACE is generalizable to Medicare patients receiving care in a variety of treatment settings. However, early posttreatment mortality is high in patients with advanced disease. We found no evidence of improved outcomes with Y90 compared with TACE. Survival estimates from this large cohort can be used to provide prognostic information to patients considering palliative TACE.

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Emily J. Guerard, Allison M. Deal, YunKyung Chang, Grant R. Williams, Kirsten A. Nyrop, Mackenzi Pergolotti, Hyman B. Muss, Hanna K. Sanoff and Jennifer L. Lund

Background: An objective measure is needed to identify frail older adults with cancer who are at increased risk for poor health outcomes. The primary objective of this study was to develop a frailty index from a cancer-specific geriatric assessment (GA) and evaluate its ability to predict all-cause mortality among older adults with cancer. Patients and Methods: Using a unique and novel data set that brings together GA data with cancer-specific and long-term mortality data, we developed the Carolina Frailty Index (CFI) from a cancer-specific GA based on the principles of deficit accumulation. CFI scores (range, 0–1) were categorized as robust (0–0.2), pre-frail (0.2–0.35), and frail (>0.35). The primary outcome for evaluating predictive validity was all-cause mortality. The Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank tests were used to compare survival between frailty groups, and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to evaluate associations. Results: In our sample of 546 older adults with cancer, the median age was 72 years, 72% were women, 85% were white, and 47% had a breast cancer diagnosis. Overall, 58% of patients were robust, 24% were pre-frail, and 18% were frail. The estimated 5-year survival rate was 72% in robust patients, 58% in pre-frail patients, and 34% in frail patients (log-rank test, P<.0001). Frail patients had more than a 2-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality compared with robust patients (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.51–3.68). Conclusions: The CFI was predictive of all-cause mortality in older adults with cancer, a finding that was independent of age, sex, cancer type and stage, and number of medical comorbidities. The CFI has the potential to become a tool that oncologists can use to objectively identify frailty in older adults with cancer.