Relevance of Geriatric Assessment in Older Patients With Colorectal Cancer

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Abstract

Introduction:

This study aims to evaluate the relevance of geriatric assessment (GA) in older patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and to study functional status (FS) and chemotherapy-related toxicity during treatment.

Methods:

Patients with CRC aged ≥ 70 years were evaluated at baseline using a GA. Results were communicated to the treating physician. At 2 to 3 months follow-up, FS was reassessed, and chemotherapy-related toxicity was recorded.

Results:

A total of 193 patients, with a median age of 77 years, were included. GA was abnormal in 75% and revealed unknown problems in 40%. Treatment was altered in 37% based on clinical assessment. GA led to geriatric interventions in 9 patients (5%) and additionally influenced treatment in 1 patient. At follow-up (n = 164), functional decline was observed in 29 patients (18%) for activities of daily living (ADL) and in 60 patients (37%) for instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Baseline IADL, depression, fatigue, and cognition were predictors for ADL decline, whereas no predictors for IADL decline could be identified. In the 109 patients receiving chemotherapy, stage and baseline fatigue were predictive for grade 3/4 hematologic toxicity, and baseline ADL, fatigue, and nutrition were predictive for grade 3/4 nonhematologic toxicity.

Conclusion:

Although GA identified previously unknown problems in more than one-third of older CRC patients, the impact on interventions or treatment decisions was limited. Baseline GA parameters may predict functional decline and chemotherapy-related toxicity. Education of physicians treating older patients with CRC is an essential step in the implementation of GA and subsequent interventions.

With the aging of the population with colorectal cancer, there is a need for a more personalized approach of these older patients. The present study demonstrates that the performance of a geriatric assessment identifies problems and predicts functional decline during treatment as well as chemotherapy-related toxicity. Geriatric assessments should be integrated in the care of older patients with colorectal cancer.

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