Doctor on telehealth visit with patient

The Charlson Comorbidity Index is a useful tool for making clinical predictions about morbidity in elderly patients with cancer, a new investigation has found.

The index measures disease burden and one-year mortality for a set of nearly 20 comorbidities. It has been used to help measure potential cancer survival as well, but there have been no studies evaluating its clinical use in elderly cancer patients, the authors said.

Study participants included 64 patients aged 80 years and older who were diagnosed with cancer between 2011 and 2021. Investigators examined correlation between the age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index score (ACCI) and survival outcomes, with high scores associated with less time until death.

The analysis showed that a high ACCI score was independently associated with overall survival and progression-free survival in these cancer patients. In addition, it appeared to provide a better assessment of the functional status of elderly cancer patients than another tool to measure this factor, called the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status.

The ACCI score offers a prognosis that is independent of the treatment benefits in elderly cancer patients, the authors wrote. 

“[W]e believe that an ACCI score can help doctors to predict mortality and prognosis in the routine clinical environment of elderly cancer patients,”

The study was published in the journal Cancer Management and Research.

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