Outcome of adult ALL has improved considerably during the past decades by intensive chemotherapy, which still remains a challenge in older pts. This may be partly due to comorbidities. So far there are no standards to differentiate pts who will be able to tolerate even age-adapted chemotherapy (fit vs unfit). In addition, little is known about the prevalence of comorbidities. Clinical trials with new compounds often represent a selection of pts w/o comorbidities. There is also no generally accepted tool for comorbidity scoring. The goal of this analysis is to provide reference data for pre-existing comorbidities in a large set of adult ALL pts, to compare two different tools and to evaluate the impact on early death (ED) in older pts.

The German Multicenter Study Group for Adult ALL (GMALL) has collected data from trials for younger (18-55 y) and older (>55 y) pts and from a prospective registry. Trials had very limited exclusion criteria and in the registry there are no exclusion criteria. The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) was assessed in the GMALL Elderly trial, whereas the Sorror Score (HCT-CI) was used in trials for younger pts and in the registry.

879 pts had a documented HCT-CI score from GMALL 08/2013 trial (N=282;group 1) and 3 groups from the registry: >55 y but eligible for intensive therapy (N=56, group 2), > 55 y in GMALL Elderly protocol (N=505, group 3) and >55 y in GMALL Frail protocol (N=36; group 4) (Table 1). In addition the CCI was documented in 333 pts treated in the GMALL Elderly Trial.

HCT-CI-Score: The most frequent comorbidities were infections (17%), prior malignancies (16%), diabetes (16%), cardiac (14%) and moderate pulmonary disease (12%), obesity (11%) and mild liver disease (10%). Arrhythmias (<1%, 5%, 12% and 22% resp. in groups 1, 2, 3, 4), cardiac disease (2%, 7%, 19% and 42% resp.), prior malignancies (2%, 11%, 25% and 22% resp.) and diabetes (4%, 16%, 22% and 22% resp.) increased with age. Infections (15%, 18%, 22% and 22% resp.) or obesity (9%, 7%, 11% and 14% resp.) were not strongly correlated to age. Comorbidity rates were lower in pts >55 y (group 2) considered eligible for intensive therapy (57%) compared to those considered for the Elderly protocol (76%) (group 3).

The proportion of low risk (LR) scores decreased with age (54%, 43%, 25% and 8% resp.;p=.01), whereas high risk (HR) increased (18%, 25%, 50% and 59% resp; p=.01).

CCI: The most frequent comorbidities were prior malignancy (14%), diabetes (25%) with (3%) or w/o (22%) end organ damage, cardiac (11%) and vascular disease (8%). The incidence of prior malignancy within the last 5 y was 7%. Risk classification was: LR (0) 51%, intermediate risk (IMR) (1-2) 42% and HR (≥3) 7%.

HCT-CI vs CCI in pts >55 y: With HCT-CI the incidence of heart diseases (21% arrhythmias, cardiac disease or valve damage) was higher compared to CCI (9%), which differentiated better into cardiac failure (7%) and myocardial infarction (4%). Peripheral vascular disease (8% with CCI) is not assessed by HCT-CI. Liver disease was less frequent with CCI (1.5%) vs HCT-CI (14%) due to different definitions, whereas moderate pulmonary disease (12%) or infections (18%) are not assessed by CCI. The incidences of prior malignancies and diabetes were comparable. Of note, the overall incidence of distinct comorbidities e.g. cardiac was lower than the sum of subentities because some pts had several comorbidities.

ED in pts >55 y: ED rates in pts >55 y in group 3 and in GMALL Elderly trial were comparable (13% vs 12% resp). In group 3 ED rates in risk groups (HCT-CI) were 7% vs 13% vs 15% (p>.05). In the GMALL Elderly trial ED in risk groups (CCI) were 9%, 12% and 35% (p=.05; p=.003 LR/IMR vs HR).

Overall the analysis reveals a high incidence of comorbidities in older (57-92%) and even in younger pts (46%), which partly would represent contraindications in clinical trials with novel compounds; thus real world data in pts with comorbidities are required after marketing authorisation. HCT-CI and CCI have a different focus and shortcomings. For ALL pts a more specific score with different organ modules would be helpful. Comorbidity is significantly correlated to ED risk. CCI allows to identify a small HR group (7%) with a mortality of 35%. HCT-CI (24% of pts) and even more CCI (51% of pts) allow to identify LR groups with <10% early mortality. It will be of interest to analyse the impact of individual comorbidities on ED rate. Overall structured comorbidity assessment should be part of all clinical trials in ALL.


Viardot:Gilead Kite: Consultancy, Honoraria; Pfizer: Consultancy, Honoraria; Amgen: Consultancy; BMS: Consultancy, Honoraria; Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria. Fiedler:Teva: Other: support for meeting attendance; Gilead: Other: support for meeting attendance; Amgen: Other: support for meetíng attendance; Pfizer: Research Funding; Amgen: Research Funding; Amgen: Patents & Royalties; Pfizer: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Novartis: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; ARIAD/Incyte: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, support for meeting attendance; Amgen: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; GSO: Other: support for meeting attendance; JAZZ Pharmaceuticals: Other: support for meeting attendance; Daiichi Sankyo: Other: support for meeting attendance. Stelljes:JAZZ: Honoraria; MSD: Consultancy; Amgen: Honoraria; Pfizer: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Novartis: Honoraria. Serve:Bayer: Research Funding. Goekbuget:Kite / Gilead: Consultancy; Celgene: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy, Other: Travel support, Research Funding; Pfizer: Consultancy, Other: Travel support, Research Funding; Amgen: Consultancy, Other: Travel support, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.