Introduction: Geriatric assessment (GA) is a multidimensional evaluation of patient health and function that may detect impairments not identified as part of routine care, predict treatment-related morbidity and mortality, and inform treatment plans. Given evidence of these benefits, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) recommend GA for older candidates of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). However, both older and younger HCT candidates will often receive multiple rounds of chemotherapy before HCT, leading to functional impairments in all age groups. Furthermore, HCT patients often experience a significant gap between when they are first evaluated and actually proceed to transplant (e.g., while a donor search is conducted), creating an opportunity to identify impairments and optimize function prior to transplant.

Methods: To address this opportunity, we created a clinical pre-HCT optimization program (C-POP) to evaluate physical function, cognitive function, nutritional status, and mental health in all adults who were deemed potential candidates for allogeneic HCT by a HCT physician. We applied this standard of care program to all adult candidates for HCT, regardless of age, with the goal of identifying functional impairments and then referring patients to services to optimize those impairments prior to HCT. We defined impairments using validated measures and compared results to established norms or scoring, controlling for age and gender where appropriate (e.g., the cut-off for six-minute walk distance was adjusted for age, gender, height, and weight, while the cut-off for falls was any fall regardless of characteristics). Patients with impairments were referred to the appropriate supportive care (e.g., physical function impairment -> referral to physical therapy). Results were prospectively analyzed at new patient evaluation (NPE), which was the first time the patient met a HCT physician and sign-off, which occurred within a week before starting transplant. While the program is ongoing, we present here the results of patients evaluated between October 16th, 2017 and July 1st, 2019. Patients are divided into three pre-specified age groups: <40 years old, 40-59 years old, and >=60 years old, with results compared using a chi-squared test.

Results: We evaluated 115 patients: 21 (18%) <40 years, 40 (35%) 40-59 years, and 54 (47%) >=60 years). There were no differences between the age groups in other demographics (gender, race, and ethnicity). At NPE, 93 (81%) met criteria for at least 1 impairment in physical function, cognitive function, nutritional status, or mental health; 62 (54%) met criteria for impairments in 2 or more areas. Surprisingly, patients <40 years were more likely to screen positive for physical function (20/21, 95%) than patients 40-59 years (26/40, 65%) and patients >=60 years (36/54, 67%) (p=0.03).

Of those 115 patients, 52 (45%) proceeded to HCT, including 12 (57%) <40 years, 18 (45%) 40-59 years, and 22 (41%) >=60 years (p=0.75); of those patients who have not proceeded to HCT, 40 (35%) will never proceed to HCT (e.g., deemed not a candidate after functional evaluation or died of disease prior to HCT) while 23 (20%) are still awaiting HCT (e.g., donor search ongoing). Patients who proceeded to HCT were less likely to have mental health impairments (2/52, 4% vs. 9/40, 23%, p=0.006).

Of the 52 who were seen at new patient evaluation and proceeded to transplant, 40 (77%) were seen at sign off. Of those who had impairments at NPE, 12/23 (52%) improved their physical function to normal limits, 4/9 (44%) improved their cognitive function, and 9/13 (69%) improved their nutritional status by the time of sign-off (of those who were seen at sign-off, none had mental health impairments at NPE).

Discussion: These results demonstrate that younger as well as older candidates for HCT exhibit a high degree of functional impairment. However, this impairment could be amenable to improvement prior to HCT. These findings support application of GA to all HCT candidates regardless of age. We will investigate the effect of referred interventions (e.g., physical therapy, seeing a dietician) in improving functional impairments in future studies, as well as look at the effect of these findings on HCT outcomes.


Wiggins:Incyte, Inc.: Speakers Bureau. Gasparetto:Janssen: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: Travel, accommodations, or other expenses paid or reimbursed ; Celgene: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: Travel, accommodations, or other expenses paid or reimbursed ; BMS: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: Travel, accommodations, or other expenses paid or reimbursed . Rizzieri:Millennium: Speakers Bureau; Novartis: Consultancy; AbbVie: Consultancy; Pfizer: Consultancy; Amgen: Consultancy; Incyte: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; TEVA: Consultancy; Spectrum: Consultancy; Kite Pharma: Consultancy; Gilead Sciences: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Jazz Pharmaceuticals: Speakers Bureau. Horwitz:Abbvie Inc: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Sung:Novartis: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Seres: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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