Geriatric Assessment with Management Intervention in Older Adults with Cancer: A Randomized Pilot Study

Author Type(s)


Document Type


Publication Date

February 2018

Journal Title

Supportive Care in Cancer




BACKGROUND: Older adults receiving cancer therapy have heightened risk for treatment-related toxicity. Geriatric assessment (GA) can identify impairments, which may contribute to vulnerability and adverse outcomes. GA management interventions can address these impairments and have the potential to improve outcomes when implemented. METHODS: We conducted a randomized pilot study comparing GA with management interventions versus usual care in patients with stage III/IV solid tumor malignancies (N = 71). In all patients, a trained coordinator conducted and scored a baseline GA with pre-determined cutoffs for impairment. For patients randomized to the intervention arm, an algorithm was used to identify GA management recommendations based upon identified impairments. Recommendations were relayed to the primary oncologist for implementation. GA was repeated at 3 months. The primary outcome was grade 3-5 chemotherapy toxicity. Secondary outcomes included feasibility, hospitalizations, dose reductions, dose delays, and early treatment discontinuation. RESULTS: The mean participant age was 76 (70-89). The total number of GA management recommendations relayed was 409, of which 35.4% were implemented by the primary oncologist. Incidence of grade 3-5 chemotherapy toxicity did not differ between the two groups. Prevalence of hospitalization, dose reductions, dose delays, and early treatment discontinuation also did not differ between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: An algorithm can be used to guide GA management recommendations in older adults with cancer. However, reliance upon the primary oncologist for execution resulted in a low prevalence of implementation. Future work should aim to understand barriers to implementation and explore alternate models of implementing geriatric-focused care for older adults with cancer.