Frailty screening by Geriatric-8 and 4-meter gait speed test is feasible and predicts postoperative complications in elderly colorectal cancer patients

Colorectal Cancer

J Geriatr Oncol. 2020 Nov 3:S1879-4068(20)30484-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2020.10.012. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Identification of frail older colorectal cancer patients might help to select those prone to adverse events and may lead to adjustment of treatment plans. However, the prognostic validity of screening for frailty is unknown.

METHODS: This retrospective study evaluates colorectal cancer patients ≥70 years who underwent elective surgery between May 2016 and December 2018. The Geriatric-8 (G8) and 4-m gait speed test (4MGST) were used as frailty screening tools. According to hospital guidelines, patients were referred to a geriatrician when screening was indicative for frailty (G8 ≤ 14 and/or 4MGST < 1 m/s). Patients were categorized as fit, vulnerable or frail by comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). The clinical implications and prognostic validity of frailty screening and CGA were evaluated.

RESULTS: 149 patients were included, of whom 132 (89%) were screened for frailty. Frailty was suspected in 40% of screened patients (n = 53) of whom 89% (n = 47) was referred for CGA. A higher complication rate was seen in patients with G8 ≤ 14 and/or 4MGST < 1 m/s compared to those with G8 > 14 and 4MGST ≥1 m/s (respectively 62% versus 28%,p < 0.001). Pneumonia (21% versus 6%, p = 0.013) and cardiac complications (11% versus 4%, p = 0.093) were more prevalent in patients with G8 ≤ 14 and/or 4MGST < 1 m/s. CGA identified frail patients as a group with a high complication rate of 68%.

CONCLUSION: Screening for frailty with subsequent referral for CGA is feasible in older colorectal cancer patients. Our study suggests that screening for frailty by G8 + 4MGST can identify patients with higher risk for postoperative complications.