Researchers from Cardinal Health found that most oncologists in the United States did not use a geriatric assessment (GA) tool during decision-making. These findings were presented during the 2020 ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

A questionnaire about the use of geriatric assessment during the care of older patients with cancer was presented to community oncologists and hematologists at live meetings. Participants were invited to respond between September 2019 and February 2020.

The 349 participating clinicians defined older adults as 65 and older (22%), 70 and older (39%), or 75 and older (32%).

The GA tools clinicians were familiar with included the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE; 63%), comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA; 37%), and the Cancer and Aging Research Group (CARG) Geriatric Assessment tool (22%). Nearly one-quarter (22%) of participants were not familiar with any GA instrument.


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Most community oncologists and hematologists (60%) reported that they did not use the geriatric assessment when making treatment decisions. Of these clinicians, 44% felt the tools were too cumbersome to incorporate and 36% thought they added no value beyond a standard examination.

Among clinicians who reported using a GA instrument, the most common was the MMSE (54%), followed by the CGA (23%), CARG Geriatric Assessment Tool (12%), and Chemotherapy Risk Assessment Scale for High-Age Patients (9%). These clinicians thought that Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (88%) and comorbidities (73%) were useful factors to consider when making treatment decisions.

The study authors concluded that education of geriatric assessment instruments and their utility was needed among community clinicians treating older patients with cancer.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original abstract for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Gajra A, Jeune-Smith Y, Fortier S, Feinberg BA. The use of validated geriatric assessment instruments among U.S. community oncologists. J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(suppl 29):Abstr 129. doi:10.1200/JCO.2020.38.29_suppl.129