Introduction: Many older adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) do not receive chemotherapy because of physicians' and patients' concern for toxicities and functional decline. This highlights the critical and urgent need to generate knowledge of functional changes following new treatments. Materials and Methods: As a part of a pragmatic single-center trial, 59 older adults ≥60 years with AML completed geriatric assessment and health-related quality of life measures before treatment and at one month and three months after chemotherapy initiation. Changes in scores of various geriatric assessment measures were computed by subtracting the baseline score from the one-month and three-month scores for each patient. Established cut-offs were used to determine a clinically meaningful change (improvement or worsening). This study provides results of descriptive exploratory analyses. Results: Patients experienced significant comorbidity burden and a high prevalence of functional impairments before treatment, with 56% of patients having ≥2 comorbid conditions, 69% having abnormal cognitive function (using Montreal Cognitive Assessment), 69% having impaired objective physical function (using Short Physical Performance Battery), and 64% having a positive depression screen (Patient Health Questionnaire-9). Patients (n = 53) received treatment with predominantly low-intensity chemotherapy; six patients received intensive chemotherapy. Among those who completed some or all of the three-month evaluation (N = 43), from baseline before treatment to three months later, cognitive function improved (38.7%) or remained stable (38.7%), objective physical function improved (51.6%) or remained stable (22.6%), and depression scores improved (9.4%) or remained stable (53.1%). Global health status score and role functioning moderately improved by a score of >16. Discussion: An exploratory analysis of our phase 2 trial demonstrated improvement or stabilization of cognitive and physical function and depression score at three months in a high proportion of older survivors of AML, despite a high prevalence of frailty and significant comorbidity burden at baseline. These results demonstrate success of treatment in improving cognitive and physical function and depression score, and, if confirmed in larger studies, should encourage oncologists to offer chemotherapy to older adults with AML. Clinical Trial Registration: The study is registered in the ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03226418.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101676
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Cognition
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Physical function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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