Using Geriatric Assessment to Guide Conversations Regarding Comorbidities Among Older Patients With Advanced Cancer

Amber S. Kleckner, Megan Wells, Lee A. Kehoe, Nikesha J. Gilmore, Huiwen Xu, Allison Magnuson, Richard F. Dunne, Marielle Jensen-Battaglia, Mostafa R. Mohamed, Mark A. O’Rourke, Nicholas J. Vogelzang, Elie G. Dib, Luke J. Peppone, Supriya G. Mohile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Older patients with advanced cancer often have comorbidities that can worsen their cancer and treatment outcomes. We assessed how a geriatric assessment (GA)–guided intervention can guide conversations about comorbidities among patients, oncologists, and caregivers. METHODS This secondary analysis arose from a nationwide, multisite cluster-randomized trial ( identifier: NCT02107443). Eligible patients were $ 70 years, had advanced cancer (solid tumors or lymphoma), and had impairment in at least one GA domain (not including polypharmacy). Oncology practices (n 5 30) were randomly assigned to usual care or intervention. All patients completed a GA; in the intervention arm, a GA summary with recommendations was provided to their oncologist. Patients completed an Older Americans Resources and Services Comorbidity questionnaire at screening. The clinical encounter following GA was audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for topics related to comorbidities. Linear mixed models examined the effect of the intervention on the outcomes adjusting for practice site as a random effect. RESULTS Patients (N 5 541) were 76.6 6 5.2 years old; 94.6% of patients had at least one comorbidity with an average of 3.2 6 1.9. The intervention increased the average number of conversations regarding comorbidities per patient from 0.52 to 0.99 (P, .01). Moreover, there were a greater number of concerns acknowledged (0.52 v 0.32; P 5 .03) and there was a 2.4-times higher odds of having comorbidity concerns addressed via referral, handout, or other modes (95% CI, 1.3 to 4.3; P 5 .004). Most oncologists in the intervention arm (76%) discussed comorbidities in light of the treatment plan, and 41% tailored treatment plans. CONCLUSION Providing oncologists with a GA-guided intervention enhanced communication regarding comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E9-E19
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Health Policy
  • Oncology(nursing)


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