How to select elderly colorectal cancer patients for surgery: a pilot study in an Italian academic medical center.

Giampaolo Ugolini, Francesco Pasini, Federico Ghignone, Davide Zattoni, Maria Letizia Bacchi Reggiani, Daniele Parlanti, Isacco Montroni,

Cancer biology & medicine, January 18, 2016

Cancer is one of the most common diagnoses in elderly patients. Of all types of abdominal cancer, colorectal cancer (CRC) is undoubtedly the most frequent. Median age at diagnosis is approximately 70 years old worldwide. Due to the multiple comorbidities affecting elderly people, frailty evaluation is very important in order to avoid over- or under-treatment. This pilot study was designed to investigate the variables capable of predicting the long-term risk of mortality and living situation after surgery for CRC. Patients with 70 years old and older undergoing elective surgery for CRC were prospectively enrolled in the study. The patients were preoperatively screened using 11 internationally-validated-frailty-assessment tests. The endpoints of the study were long-term mortality and living situation. The data were analyzed using univariate Cox proportional-hazard regression analysis to verify the predictive value of score indices in order to identify possible risk factors. Forty-six patients were studied. The median follow-up time after surgery was 4.6 years (range, 2.9-5.7 years) and no patients were lost to follow-up. The overall mortality rate was 39%. Four of the patients who survived (4/28, 14%) lost their functional autonomy. The preoperative impaired Timed Up and Go (TUG), Eastern Cooperative Group Performance Status (ECOG PS), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), Vulnerable Elders Survey (VES-13) scoring systems were significantly associated with increased long term mortality risk. Simplified frailty-assessing tools should be routinely used in elderly cancer patients before treatment in order to stratify patient risk. The TUG, ECOG-PS, IADLs and VES-13 scoring systems are potentially able to predict long-term mortality and disability. Additional studies will be needed to confirm the preliminary data in order to improve management strategies for oncogeriatric surgical patients.

Pubmed Link: 26779367

Full-text Link: PMC4706530

DOI: 10.7497/j.issn.2095-3941.2015.0084