Characterizing cancer cachexia in the geriatric oncology population

Richard F. Dunne, Breton Roussel, Eva Culakova, Chintan Pandya, Fergal J. Fleming, Bradley Hensley, Allison M. Magnuson, Kah Poh Loh, Maxence Gilles, Erika Ramsdale, Ronald J. Maggiore, Aminah Jatoi, Karen M. Mustian, William Dale, Supriya G. Mohile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: Cancer cachexia, characterized by weight loss and sarcopenia, leads to a decline in physical function and is associated with poorer survival. Cancer cachexia remains poorly described in older adults with cancer. This study aims to characterize cancer cachexia in older adults by assessing its prevalence utilizing standard definitions and evaluating associations with components of the geriatric assessment (GA)and survival. Materials and Methods: Patients with cancer older than 65 years of age who underwent a GA and had baseline CT imaging were eligible in this cross-sectional study. Cancer cachexia was defined by the international consensus definition reported in 2011. Sarcopenia was measured using cross-sectional imaging and utilizing sex-specific cut-offs. Associations between cachexia, sarcopenia, and weight loss with survival and GA domains were explored. Results: Mean age of 100 subjects was 79.9 years (66–95)and 65% met criteria for cancer cachexia. Cachexia was associated with impairment in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL)(p =.017); no significant association was found between sarcopenia or weight loss and IADL impairment. Cachexia was significantly associated with poorer survival (median 1.0 vs 2.1 years, p =.011). Conclusions: Cancer cachexia as defined by the international consensus definition is prevalent in older adults with cancer and is associated with functional impairment and decreased survival. Larger prospective studies are needed to further describe cancer cachexia in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-419
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cachexia
  • Functional impairment
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Geriatric oncology
  • Sarcopenia
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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