Research Article| Volume 3, ISSUE 1, P1-7, January 2012

A comparison of two pre-operative frailty measures in older surgical cancer patients

Published:November 14, 2011DOI:



      Measuring frailty in older adults with cancer may identify patients with an increased risk of treatment complications. As it remains controversial how to identify frailty, the aim of this study was to compare a pre-operative multi-domain frailty measure based on a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) to a modified version of the physical phenotype of frailty (PF) in a cohort of older adults with colorectal cancer, and to analyze the ability of the two classifications to predict post-operative complications and survival.


      A prospective longitudinal study including 176 patients aged 70–94 years electively operated for colorectal cancer in three Norwegian hospitals. A pre-operative CGA, self-reported quality of life, and measurements of grip strength and gait speed were performed. CGA-frailty was defined as fulfilling one or more of the following criteria: dependency in activities of daily living, severe comorbidity, cognitive dysfunction, depression, malnutrition, or >seven daily medications. PF was defined with three or more of the following criteria: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, impaired grip strength, or slow gait speed. Outcome measures were post-operative complications and survival.


      The agreement between the classifications was poor. CGA-frailty was identified in 75 (43%) patients, while PF was identified in 22 (13%) patients. Only CGA-frailty predicted post-operative complications [P=0.001]. Both measures predicted survival.


      A multi-domain frailty measure based on a CGA was more useful than frailty identified from a modified version of the PF criteria in predicting post-operative complications. For overall survival, both frailty measures were predictive.


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