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Haematologica. 2013 Feb;98(2):208-16. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2012.067892. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Parameters detected by geriatric and quality of life assessment in 195 older patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia are highly predictive for outcome.

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University of Freiburg Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany.


Myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia exemplify the complexity of treatment allocation in older patients as options range from best supportive care, non-intensive treatment (e.g. hypomethylating agents) to intensive chemotherapy/hematopoietic cell transplantation. Novel metrics for non-disease variables are urgently needed to help define the best treatment for each older patient. We investigated the feasibility and prognostic value of geriatric/quality of life assessments aside from established disease-specific variables in 195 patients aged 60 years or over with myelodysplastic syndromes/acute myeloid leukemia. These patients were grouped according to treatment intensity and assessed. Assessment consisted of eight instruments evaluating activities of daily living, depression, mental functioning, mobility, comorbidities, Karnofsky Index and quality of life. Patients with a median age of 71 years (range 60-87 years) with myelodysplastic syndromes (n=63) or acute myeloid leukemia (n=132) were treated either with best supportive care (n=47), hypomethylating agents (n=73) or intensive chemotherapy/hematopoietic cell transplantation (n=75). After selection of variables, pathological activities of daily living and quality of life/fatigue remained highly predictive for overall survival in the entire patient group beyond disease-related risk factors adverse cytogenetics and blast count of 20% or over. In 107 patients treated non-intensively activities of daily living of less than 100 (hazard ratio, HR 2.94), Karnofsky Index below 80 (HR 2.34) and quality of life/'fatigue' of 50 or over (HR 1.77) were significant prognosticators. Summation of adverse features revealed a high risk of death (HR 9.36). In-depth evaluation of older patients prior to individual treatment allocation is feasible and provides additional information to standard assessment. Patients aged 60 years or over with newly diagnosed myelodysplastic syndromes/acute myeloid leukemia and impairments in activities of daily living, Karnofsky Index below 80%, quality of life/'fatigue' of 50 or over, are likely to have poor outcomes.

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