Malnutrition in Older Patients With Hematological Malignancies at Initial Diagnosis

Malnutrition in Older Patients With Hematological Malignancies at Initial Diagnosis – Association With Impairments in Health Status, Systemic Inflammation and Adverse Outcome

Poor nutritional status is a common problem in cancer patients at advanced age, but the prevalence and impact of malnutrition in hematological malignancies remains underinvestigated. To evaluate nutritional status in older adults over age 70 with newly diagnosed hematological malignancies, we enrolled 147 patients and assessed weight loss, food intake, Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), and BMI. We compared nutritional status with demographic data, inflammation markers, and restrictions in multidimensional geriatric assessment. MNA classified 43% of patients being at risk of, and 15% having manifest malnutrition. A moderate/severe decrease in food intake was reported by 24% or 16%, a recent weight loss of 1 to 3 kg or >3 kg by 19% or 31%, and a BMI <23 kg/m2 by 29%. Lowered serum albumin (<3.5 g/dL) was prevalent in 14% of patients, and in 38% Glasgow Prognostic Score indicated hyperinflammation. Principal component analysis clustered malnutrition with inflammation markers and pronounced impairments, that is, fatigue, depression, comorbidities, reduced functional capacities. Severe decrease in food intake (HR: 3.3 (1.9–5.8), p < 0.001), >3 kg weight loss (HR: 2.3 (1.4–3.9), p = 0.001), impaired MNA (HR: 2.8 (1.3–6.2), p = 0.010), and low serum albumin (HR: 2.1 (1.1–4.0), p = 0.030) were significantly associated with shortened overall survival. Recent weight loss >3 kg (HR: 2.2 (1.1–4.3), p = 0.022), and low BMI (HR: 3.3 (1.8–6.0), p < 0.001) remained independent adverse parameters in multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression analyses. Malnourishment at initial diagnosis is frequent in older patients with hematological malignancies and represents an adverse prognosticator. Clustering of malnutrition with impairments and systemic inflammation suggests an underlying common pathway.

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