Can Vulnerable Elders Survey-13 predict the impact of frailty on chemotherapy in elderly patients with gynaecological malignancies?

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Abstract

The management of gynaecological cancers in elderly women and high-risk patients is an even more relevant issue, because the increase in longevity and comorbidities. The assumption of frailty based on age alone may lead to inadequate and inappropriate treatment and frailty assessment is recommended. The aim of this study was to assess if Vulnerable Elders Survey-13 (VES-13), as indicator of frailty, can predict the toxicity of chemotherapy in gynaecological cancers.

VES-13 was administered to patients aged ≥ 70 years with ovarian, endometrial and cervical cancers who underwent chemotherapy from 2010 to 2016.

Eighty-four patients aged ≥ 70 years (mean age 74.6) were included, 36 patients (42.9%) resulted vulnerable (score ≥ 3). Thrombocytopenia and anaemia were more prevalent in the vulnerable subjects (81.3% versus 18.7%, P = .0005, and 81.8% versus 18.2%, P = .005, respectively), while neutropenia was similar between the 2 groups. Vulnerable women had higher risk of non-haematological toxicities. Most of the patients (77.4%) completed chemotherapy, but dose reductions and discontinuations were more common in the vulnerable group (66.7% versus 33.3%, P = .07 and 68.4% versus 31.6%, P = .01, respectively).

To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate VES-13 exclusively in elderly women with gynaecological cancers. VES-13 may be useful to stratify this category of patients according to vulnerability in order to identify women at risk of toxicity and to prevent complications induced by chemotherapy.

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