Geriatric assessment and treatment outcomes in older adults with cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors

Karim Welaya, Kah Poh Loh, Susan Messing, Emily Szuba, Allison Magnuson, Supriya Gupta Mohile, Ronald John Maggiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized the treatment of cancer, but outcomes in older adults are not well defined. We evaluated the associations of geriatric assessment (GA) domains with treatment-related outcomes in older adults with solid tumors receiving ICIs. Methods: We performed a single-center, retrospective study of patients age ≥65 years diagnosed with solid tumors who received ICIs and were evaluated with a GA from January 2011 to April 2017. Using Wilcoxon rank sum test, we examined the associations of GA domains and treatment-related outcomes, including the number of ICI cycles received, best response, immune-related adverse events (irAEs), and hospitalizations during ICI treatment. Results: We identified 28 patients (median age at ICI treatment = 78 years, range 66–93); 60% had Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status of ≥2; 39% had lung cancer; 89% had stage IV cancer; and 50% received pembrolizumab. Seventy-five percent had at least one GA domain impairment. Patients with any instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) impairment received fewer cycles of ICI (median: 2.0 vs. 7.0 cycles, p = 0.02). In this small sample, neither age nor GA domain measures were associated with best response, irAEs, or hospitalization during ICI treatment. Conclusions: Older adults treated with ICIs had a high prevalence of impairments in GA domains, and IADL impairments were associated with shorter duration of ICI treatment. Future prospective studies are needed to evaluate the role of the GA further in this vulnerable patient population in the immunotherapy era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-528
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Immunotherapy
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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