Scholarly article on topic 'A Prospective Study Comparing the Outcomes and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adult Patients with Myeloid Malignancies Undergoing Allogeneic Transplantation Using Myeloablative or Reduced-Intensity Conditioning'

A Prospective Study Comparing the Outcomes and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adult Patients with Myeloid Malignancies Undergoing Allogeneic Transplantation Using Myeloablative or Reduced-Intensity Conditioning Academic research paper on "Clinical medicine"

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{Myeloablative / "Reduced intensity" / "Quality of life" / AML / Survival}

Abstract of research paper on Clinical medicine, author of scientific article — Vikas Gupta, Tony Panzarella, Le Li, Jabeen Khan, Ajay Sharma, et al.

We compared the outcomes including health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in adult patients undergoing allogeneic transplantation using myeloablative conditioning (MAC) or reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC). This outcome study was a nonrandomized, prospective, observational noninferiority study, and primarily designed to determine whether RIC was as effective as MAC for myeloid malignancies. Comprehensive longitudinal assessment of HRQOL was done at baseline, day 30, day 100, day 180, and day 365 using validated instruments. A total of 115 patients (MAC, 51; RIC, 64) participated in this study. Of these 115 patients, 105 (91%) participated for HRQOL assessments. The main indication for HCT was acute myeloid leukemia (72%). Except age (median 41 vs 59 years, P < .0001), baseline characteristics were similar in patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively. Progression-free survival (PFS) at 1 year was 59% (SE = 7%) and 53% (SE = 6%) for the patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (90% confidence interval [CI] −9% to +21%, P = .53). No significant difference in overall survival (OS), cumulative incidents of acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD, cGVHD), nonrelapse mortality (NRM) or relapse was observed in the 2 cohorts. The trajectory of decline and recovery of HRQOL was similar between the 2 cohorts. We conclude that clinical outcomes and HRQOL in patients with myeloid malignancies undergoing RIC are not inferior to MAC at 1 year.

Academic research paper on topic "A Prospective Study Comparing the Outcomes and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adult Patients with Myeloid Malignancies Undergoing Allogeneic Transplantation Using Myeloablative or Reduced-Intensity Conditioning"

ASBMI

American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation

A Prospective Study Comparing the Outcomes and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adult Patients with Myeloid Malignancies Undergoing Allogeneic Transplantation Using Myeloablative or Reduced-Intensity Conditioning

1 2 3 2 1 1

Vikas Gupta, Tony Panzarella, ' Le Li, Jabeen Khan, Ajay Sharma, Jeffrey H. Lipton,1 John Kuruvilla,1 Hans Messner,1 Shabbir M. H. Alibhai4

We compared the outcomes including health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in adult patients undergoing allogeneic transplantation using myeloablative conditioning (MAC) or reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC). This outcome study was a nonrandomized, prospective, observational noninferiority study, and primarily designed to determine whether RIC was as effective as MAC for myeloid malignancies. Comprehensive longitudinal assessment of HRQOL was done at baseline, day 30, day 100, day 180, and day 365 using validated instruments. A total of 115 patients (MAC, 51; RIC, 64) participated in this study. Of these 115 patients, 105 (91 %) participated for HRQOL assessments. The main indication for HCTwas acute myeloid leukemia (72%). Except age (median 41 vs 59 years, P < .0001), baseline characteristics were similar in patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively. Progression-free survival (PFS) at 1 year was 59% (SE = 7%) and 53% (SE = 6%) for the patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (90% confidence interval [CI] -9% to +21%, P = .53). No significant difference in overall survival (OS), cumulative incidents of acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD, cGVHD), nonrelapse mortality (NRM) or relapse was observed in the 2 cohorts. The trajectory of decline and recovery of HRQOL was similar between the 2 cohorts. We conclude that clinical outcomes and HRQOL in patients with myeloid malignancies undergoing RIC are not inferior to MAC at 1 year.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 18:113-124 (2012) Crown Copyright © 2012 Publishedby Elsevier Inc. onbehalfof American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. All rights reserved.

KEY WORDS: Myeloablative, Reduced intensity, Quality of life, AML, Survival

INTRODUCTION

Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) approaches are increasingly being used in patients with myeloid

From the 'Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Princess Margaret Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; 2Department of Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and 4Department of Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Financial disclosure: See Acknowledgments on page 123. Correspondence and reprint requests: Vikas Gupta, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Princess Margaret Hospital, Suite 5-217, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, M5G 2M9, Canada (e-mail: vikas.gupta@uhn.on.ca). Received March 21,2011; accepted May 31,2011 Crown Copyright © 2012 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. All rights reserved.

1083-8791/$36.00

doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2011.05.022

malignancies undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) [1,2]. These regimens have extended the application of HCT to older patients and to those with significant comorbidities who otherwise would have precluded their candidacies for transplantation. Several retrospective studies have compared the outcomes of myeloablative conditioning (MAC) and RIC in patients with myeloid malignancies. Despite a significantly higher proportion of older patients in the RIC cohorts, these studies have reported similar survival outcomes after RIC and MAC [3-12]. Major limitations of these studies include lack of information on the decision process for the selection of RIC regimens and comorbidity data. Importantly, none of these studies have compared health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients undergoing RIC or MAC.

RIC regimens are mainly offered to older patients and those with significant comorbidities. Because of anticipated lower regimen-related toxicities with RIC, these patients may have better HRQOL in the immediate posttransplantation period. However, older

patients and those with comorbidities may be more vulnerable to other posttransplantation complications, such as infections and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), resulting in detrimental impact on HRQOL. This has raised concern over the HRQOL of these older patients to younger and fitter patients undergoing MAC. In addition, patients undergoing MAC or RIC HCT are at different competing risks of transplant-related mortality and relapse, and the overall impact of these posttransplantation complications on HRQOL is not well understood. The majority of HRQOL data in patients undergoing HCT are cross-sectional and limited to long-term survivors [13-16]. Only limited information is available on the comparative HRQOL in patients treated with MAC versus RIC regimens [17,18], and more longitudinal data would be desirable.

We undertook a prospective study at our center in patients with myeloid malignancies undergoing HCT to compare the clinical outcomes and longitudinal HRQOL of adult patients with myeloid malignancies undergoing HCT using MAC or RIC.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

Eligibility Criteria

The study was approved by the research and ethics board of the University Health Network, Toronto (REB # 05-0912-CE). The inclusion criteria for the study were: adult patients 18 to 70 years old, undergoing HCT for a myeloid malignancy using a matched related or unrelated donor. Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with active disease at the time of HCT were excluded.

Study Design

This was a nonrandomized, prospective, observational noninferiority study and primarily designed to determine whether RIC was as effective as MAC for the treatment of myeloid malignancies. The primary endpoint of the study was progression-free survival (PFS) at 1 year from the date of HCT. The study was designed to accept RIC as noninferior to MAC if the 1-year PFS was within 0.15 of the MAC arm. Using a 1-sided Type I error of 0.10, a sample size of 110 (55 per arm) was required to have a power of 0.8 so that the upper level of the 90% confidence limit would not exceed 0.15. Secondary endpoints were longitudinal HRQOL, overall survival (OS), regimen-related toxicities, acute GVHD (aGVHD) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD), cumulative incidence of relapse, and nonrelapse mortality (NRM).

Informed consent was obtained from all the patients. In addition to the consent for clinical outcomes, patients were asked to sign a separate consent for the

HRQOL study. For participation in the HRQOL study, fluency in English was required. However, where validated translations of both the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EOrTC) core 30-item questionnaire (QLQ-C30) and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-anemia and fatigue subscale (FACT-An) were available in the patient's language and a translator was available, the patient was eligible for recruitment.

Patient Accrual

From January 2005 to September 2008,118 patients who met the eligibility criteria underwent HCT at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program of Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto. Of these, 115 patients consented to participate in the outcomes study. Ofthese 115 participants, 105 (91%) also consented to participate in the HRQOL assessments. The reasons for non-participation in the HRQOL study were: time commitment, 5; language barrier, 3; and others, 2.

Conditioning Regimens, GVHD Prophylaxis, and Supportive Care

All the cases were discussed in a transplant meeting, and intensity of the conditioning was decided on the basis of the consensus of this meeting. There was a consensus among the physicians to offer RIC to patients $60 years old and MAC to those <40 years old. Between 40 and 59 years, further factors such as comorbidities, performance status, and previous HCT were taken into consideration, and conditioning intensity was decided according to group consensus. All the transplantations were performed as in-patient irrespective of type of conditioning. The intensity of the conditioning regimen was defined according to the criteria defined by Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) [19]. MAC regimens included: cyclophosphamide (120 mg/kg) and 1200 cGy total body irradiation (TBI) in 6 fractions (n = 18); i.v. busulphan (12.8 mg/kg) and cyclophosphamide (120 mg/kg) (n = 4); cytarabine, cyclophosphamide, and TBI (n = 4); and fludarabine (200 mg/m2) and i.v. busulphan (12.8 mg/kg) with (n = 21) or without (n = 4) 400 cGY TBI in 2 fractions. The RIC regimen comprised of intravenous fludara-bine (120 mg/m2), and i.v. busulphan 6.4 mg/kg with (n = 59) or without (n = 5) low-dose TBI (2 cGy). Hematopoietic progenitor cells were infused on day 0. Postallograft, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) was not routinely administered to the recipients. The GVHD prophylaxis was performed with cyclosporine and methotrexate or cyclosporine and mycophenolate for the related donors, and cyclospor-ine and low-dose alemtuzumab for the unrelated donors [20]. The supportive care was provided as described previously [21].

Regimen-Related Toxicities (RRT)

RRT were evaluated according to Bearman Toxicity Criteria [22]. Toxicities were scored at the completion of the conditioning regimen, and then once a week for the first 6 weeks from day 0. For comparisons between MAC and RIC, the worst toxicity grade was evaluated.

Definitions and Evaluation of Response

Disease risk was defined as high or standard risk on the basis of the following disease-based criteria. For AML, high-risk was defined as patients having at least

1 of the following criteria: poor risk cytogenetics as defined by SWOG/ECOG [23], >1 course of intensive induction to achieve complete remission (CR) [24], a preceding myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)/ myeloproliferative disorder (MPD), therapy-related AML (t-AML), second remission AML with CR1 <1 year. High-risk MDS was defined as therapy-related-MDS or a score of $ 1.5 according to the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) [25]. A Lille score of

2 for myelofibrosis [26] and CML patients other than first chronic phase were defined as high risk. All other patients were defined as standard risk. Comorbidities were scored according to the HCT-specific index, and severity was graded as none (score 0), mild (score 1), moderate (score 2), and severe (score $3) as previously defined [27]. Hematopoietic recovery, aGVHD, and cGVHD was defined as previously described [21]. PFS was calculated from the date of BMT to relapse or progression of disease, death from any cause, or last follow-up. OS was calculated from date of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to death or last follow-up. NRM was defined as death in continuous remission, and relapse was defined as hematologic recurrence of the disease in blood, BM, or extramedul-lary site. The data were collected prospectively in the case report forms specifically designed for the study and crosschecked for accuracy.

HRQOL Instruments

Comprehensive assessment of HRQOL was done at baseline, day 30, day 100, day 180, and day 365. General QOL, treatment-relevant QOL, and related symptoms such as fatigue were assessed by the following measures: EORTC QLQ-C30 [28], FACT-BoneMarrow Transplantation (FACT-BMT) [29], FACT-An

[30], Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)

[31], and Lawton and Brody's instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) [32]. The EORTC QLQ-C30 is a multidimensional scale that features 5 functional scales (physical, role, cognitive, emotional, and social),

3 symptom scales (fatigue, pain, and nausea/vomiting), several single-item symptom subscales (appetite, sleep disturbance, dyspnea, constipation, and diarrhea), and a global QOL measure [28]. FACT-BMT is

a 12-item subscale widely used to measure transplant-related QOL in malignant hematology [29]. The FACT-An is a 20-item questionnaire (13 items on fatigue and 7 items on other aspects of anemia) designed specifically to explore fatigue in cancer patients [30]. HADS is a 14-item questionnaire and includes 2 validated subscales measuring nonsomatic symptoms of depression and anxiety [31]. IADL measures are sensitive to the impact of cancer and its treatment [32].

Assessments were done in a quiet room in the clinic area or, if the patient preferred, via mail-in questionnaires that were completed at home. The first questionnaire at baseline was distributed by the study coordinator/treating physician, and follow-up questionnaires were given to patients at the follow-up appointments or mailed to the home address. If an evaluation was not completed, reasons for noncomple-tion were captured.

The difference in HRQOL between the 2 cohorts was considered clinically meaningful when a moderate-sized difference in the HRQOL scores was supported by a P value of <.05. Moderate-size differences for the various instruments were defined using published cutoffs where possible or moderate effect sizes otherwise, as follows: EORTC-QLQ-C30, 10 points on transformed scales [33]; FACT-BMT, 3 points on a 10-item (40-point) scale [29,34]; FACT-An subscale, 4 points on a 20-item (80-point) scale [35]; FACT-fatigue subscale, 3 points on a 13-item (52 point) scale [35]; HADS, 1.5-2.0 points on each 7-item anxiety and depression subscale [34]; and IADL, 1 point on a 17-point scale [32].

Statistical Analysis

Descriptive statistics were reported using the median and range or the mean and standard deviation for continuous variables and using frequencies and proportions for categoric variables. PFS and OS were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cumulative incidents of NRM, relapse, aGVHD, and cGVHD were calculated to account for competing risks [36]. Differences between survival curves were analyzed using the log-rank test. Differences between cumulative incidence curves were analyzed by Gray's test. Cox proportional hazards regression was applied to multivariable analyses.

Treatment group comparisons over time using within-patient changes in quality of life (ie, improved, unchanged, or worse) were tested using the Fisher exact test. Mean QOL scores at baseline and at 1 year were compared using the 2-sample t test.

The general linear mixed effects linear regression model was used to test the effect of treatment over time for each QOL measure [37]. The variables treatment, time, treatment x time interaction, and other

adjustment variables were handled as fixed effects. An unstructured variance-covariance error term was assumed in modeling the HRQOL measurements within each patient across time. The test of the interaction effect involving treatment and time was never found to be statistically significant, so it was dropped from subsequent models.

Missing HRQOL data were computed in several ways and compared to results without imputation. Because missing HRQOL data was related to deteriorating patient outcome, imputation involved (1) assigning the worst HRQOL scores to patients who were still alive, (2) assigning the median score from the worst quartile to patients who were still alive, and (3) assigning the worst HRQOL score to all patients with missing data (alive or dead). Because the results were similar, only the nonimputed results are reported here.

All analyses were performed in SAS version 9.2 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC), except for the analysis of competing risks, which were performed in R version 2.10.1 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria, 2009; http://www.R-project.org) using the Cmprsk package.

RESULTS

Of the 115 study patients, 51 patients underwent MAC, and 64 patients underwent RIC. The median age of patients undergoing RIC was significantly higher compared with those undergoing MAC (59 years vs 41 years, P < .0001). The main indication of HCT was AML (72%). Of 64 patients undergoing RIC, 28 (44%) were $60 years and 36 (56%) were between 41 and 59 years. The indications for RIC in patients <60 years were: significant comorbidities (n = 21), previous HCT (n = 6), poor performance score (n = 3), and miscellaneous (n = 6). Apart from age, other baseline characteristics were similar between the 2 cohorts (Table 1). There were no significant differences in HCT comor-bidity scores between the 2 groups (Table 1), including psychiatric comorbidity (15.7% vs 15.6%).

PFS and OS

PFS at 1 year was 59% (SE = 7%) and 53% (SE = 6%) for the patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (90% confidence interval [CI] —9% to +21%, P = .53) (Figure 1A). OS at 1 year was 59% (SE = 7%) and 61% (SE = 6%) for the patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (P = .70) (Figure 1B). In the multivariate analysis, no significant difference in PFS or OS was observed between the patients undergoing MAC and RIC (Table 2). High-risk disease was the only significant factor for inferior PFS and OS in the multivariate analysis (Table 2). In a subgroup analysis, no significant difference in PFS or OS was observed in patients age 41 to 59 years (data not shown).

Table 1. Baseline Patient, Disease, and Transplant-Related Characteristics of Patients Undergoing Myeloablative or Reduced-Intensity Conditioning

MAC (%) RIC (%)

Characteristics n 5 51 n 5 64 P value

Median age, yrs (range) 41 (21-60) 59 (43-69) <.0001

Age <.0001

#40 years 25 (49) 0

41-59 years 25 (49) 36 (56)

$60 years 1 (2) 28 (44)

Proportion of male patients 29 (57) 34 (53) .69

KPS at BMT .16

$90 50 (98) 59 (92)

<90 1 (2) 5(8)

HCT-specific comorbidity score .30

None/mild (0/1) 24 (47) 21 (33)

Moderate (2) 8(16) 13 (20)

Severe ($3) 19(37) 30 (47)

Disease .47

AML 34 (67) 49 (77)

CRI 21 34

CR2 13 15

MDS 8(16) 8(12)

Other myeloid 9(18) 7(11)

Disease risk .86

High 39 (76) 48 (75)

Standard 12 (24) 16(25)

Significant fungal infection

before BMT 10 (24) 15(26) .78

Type of donor .20

MSD 25 (49) 39(61)

UD 26 (51) 25 (39)

Conditioning regimens —

CY TBI 18(35) —

Bu CY 4(8) —

Ara-C/CY TBI 4(8) —

Flu Bu TBI 21 (41) —

Flu Bu 4(8) —

Flu Bu TBI — 59 (92)

Flu Bu — 5 (8)

CMV serostatus (D/R) .99

neg/neg 20 (39) 25 (39)

Others 31 (61) 39(61)

Source of hematopoietic cells .48

PB 47 (92) 61 (95)

BM 4(8) 3 (5)

MAC indicates myeloablative conditioning; RIC, reduced-intensity conditioning; KPS, Karnofsky's performance status; BMT, blood or marrow transplantation; AML, acute myeloid leukemia; MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome; MSD, matched sibling donor, UD, unrelated donor; CMV, cytomegalovirus; D, donor; R, recipient; PB, peripheral blood; BM, bone marrow; CY, cyclophosphamide; TBI, total body irradiation; Bu, busulphan; Ara-C, cytarabine; Flu, fludarabine.

Comparative details of RRT in patients undergoing MAC and RIC are summarized in Table 3. Significantly higher stomatitis (P < .001) and hepatic (P = .02) toxicities were observed in patients undergoing MAC.

Hematopoietic Recovery, aGVHD, and cGVHD

The median duration of neutropenia was significantly shorter in the patients undergoing RIC in comparison to MAC (12 days vs 17 days, P < .0001). Ten

Figure I. Comparisons of patients undergoing myeloablative versus RIC for HCT. (A) PFS. (B) OS. (C) Cumulative incidence of NRM. (D) Cumulative incidence of relapse.

patients (16%) in the RIC cohort never dropped their platelet counts to <20 x 109/L. The median days to platelet count recovery was significantly faster in the RIC cohort (10 vs 14 days, P = .0003). The cumulative incidence of grade II-IV aGVHD at day 180 was 61% (SE = 0.5%) and 59% (SE = 0.4%) for patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (P = .90). No differences in the cumulative incidence of grade III-IV aGVHD (18% [SE = 0.3%] vs 14% [SE = 0.2%], P = .79) or the proportion of patients developing steroid-refractory aGVHD (18% vs 8%, P = .16) were observed in patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively. Median time to onset of aGVHD was 44 days and 49 days in the patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (P = .23). The

cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD at 1 year was 41 (SE = 0.5%) and 55 (SE = 0.5%) in patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (P = .08). The median days to onset of cGVHD was shorter in the patients undergoing MAC (182 days vs 214 days, P = .02).

NRM and Relapses

No significant differences in the cumulative incidents of NRM (29% [SE = 6%] vs 25% [SE = 5%], P = .87) and relapse (12% [SE = 5%] vs 22% [SE = 5%], P = .24) were observed in the patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (Figure 1C and D). The hazard ratios (HR) for NRM and relapse for the

Table 2. Multivariate Analysis of Progression-Free and Overall Survival

Parameter PFS OS

HR 95% CI P value HR 95% CI P value

Conditioning intensity .59 .47

MAC 1.00 — 1.00 —

RIC 0.81 0.38-1.74 0.75 0.35-1.63

Age 1.02 0.99-1.06 .26 1.02 0.99-1.06 .26

KPS at BMT .70 .50

$90% 1.00 — —

<90 1.19 0.50-2.86 1.35 0.56-3.23

HCT-specific comorbidity score

None/mild (0/1) 1.00 — —

Moderate (2) 0.61 0.26-1.45 .26 0.56 0.22-1.41 .22

Severe ($3) 1.31 0.73-2.34 .36 1.43 0.78-2.59 .25

Disease risk .017 .008

Standard 1.00 — 1.00 —

High 2.44 1.16-5.00 3.03 1.33-6.67

Donor type

MSD 1.00 — 1.00 —

UD 1.13 0.66-1.94 .66 1.29 0.74-2.25 .36

MAC indicates myeloablative conditioning; RIC, reduced-intensity conditioning; PFS, progression-free survival; OS, overall survival; HR, hazard ratio; RIC, reduced-intensity conditioning; CI, confidence interval; KPS, Karnofsky's performance scores; BMT, blood or marrow transplantation; MSD, matched sibling donor, UD, unrelated donor.

RIC group were 0.61 (95% CI 0.25-1.50, P = .28) and 1.72 (95% CI 0.34-8.86, P = .51), respectively. No significant factors for NRM and relapse were identified in multivariate analysis.

A total of 105 patients (MAC, 44; RIC, 61) participated in the HRQOL study. The median age

Table 3. Regimen-Related Toxicities According to Bearman Toxicity Criteria in Patients Undergoing HCT Using MAC and RIC Approaches

MAC RIC

Organ Toxicity Grade n 5 51 n 5 64 P value

Cardiac toxicity 0 51 62 >.9

$2 0 1

Pulmonary toxicity 0 49 63 .72

$2 1 1

Stomatitis toxicity 0 6 28 <.001

1 5 20

$2 40 16

Gastrointestinal toxicity 0 47 60 .3

$2 2 0

Hepatic toxicity 0 33 55 .02

1 10 4

$2 8 5

CNS toxicity 0 46 62 .26

$2 3 2

Bladder toxicity 0 45 63 .06

$2 4 1

Renal toxicity 0 44 60 .34

$2 5 2

HCT indicates allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation; MAC, myeloablative conditioning; RIC, reduced-intensity conditioning; CNS, central nervous system.

of patients completing HRQOL (59 years vs 42 years, P < .0001) was similar to the entire study population. No differences in baseline characteristics were found between the participants and nonparticipants in the HRQOL study (data not shown). Compliance with completion of HRQOL assessments among surviving patients was high; reasons for noncompletion at various study time points are summarized in Table 4.

Baseline HRQOL Scores

Mean HRQOL scores at baseline for the 2 cohorts are shown in Table 5. Mean QOL scores were similar at baseline, except for a higher score in role functioning for the RIC cohort (67.2 vs 54.8, P = .05).

Posttransplantation HRQOL Scores

Except emotional functioning, there was a decline in various domains of HRQOL in the posttransplantation period, with the lowest scores at day 30 followed by subsequent slow improvement toward baseline by day 365 (Figures 2 and 3). This pattern was similar for patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively. The trajectory for post-HCT HRQOL scores for various domains of the QLQ-C30, FACT-An, and FACT-BMT is shown in Figures 2 and 3, respectively. The change in HRQOL status at each time point in comparison to baseline values for patients undergoing MAC and RIC for the study instruments are shown in Table 6. In Table 6, change in HRQOL status is shown where data is available for both time points, and the results reflect changes in QOL between them.

The RIC cohort had better QLQ-C30 scores in the domains of physical functioning at day 30 (Figure 2B, 75 vs 63, P = .006). A higher proportion of patients undergoing RIC had worsening of

Table 4. Compliance for Completion of HRQOL Assessments and Reasons for Noncompletion

Baseline

Alive 105

Completed evaluations 103 (98%) Reasons for noncompletion of QOL assessment

Sick because of toxicity or disease relapse 1

Consent with drawn 0

Others 1

Day 30 Day 100 Day 180 Day 365

104 96 82 64

95(91%) 82(85%) 70 (85%) 54(84%)

6 8 8 3

13 3 2

2 3 15

cognitive functioning from baseline from day 100 onward (Figure 2e and Table 6). The absolute difference in cognitive function was small at day 100 (86 vs 80, P = .13), day 180 (84 vs 76, P = 17), and 365 (79 vs 75, P = .48) in patients undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively (Figure 2E).

Data were also reanalyzed in a sensitivity analysis after imputing lowest quintile scores for the patients who did not complete HRQOL assessments because of sickness resulting from transplant-related toxicities or relapse. Imputing these data did not significantly influence the above results (data not shown).

In an exploratory analysis, we compared the cognitive scores in patients age 41 to 59 years undergoing MAC and RIC, respectively. No difference in cognitive scores between MAC and RIC cohorts was

seen at baseline (75 vs 81, P = .28). Cognitive scores were worse at day 30 (60 vs 74, P = .04), better at day 180 (87 vs 71, P = .04) for patients undergoing MAC, and similar at other time points (data not shown).

DISCUSSION

In this prospective studyation, we show that despite a higher proportion of older patients in the RIC cohort, survival outcomes between the 2 approaches were similar in patients with myeloid malignancies. The prospective nature of the study gave us an opportunity to compare the HRQOL in addition to clinical outcomes. These clinical outcome results are similar

Table 5. Health-Related Quality-of-Life Scores at Baseline and 12 Months Posttransplantation

Instrument Myeloablative Conditioning Reduced-Intensity Conditioning P-Value

EORTC QLQ-C30

Global health status scale

Baseline score, mean (SD) 64.9 (21.7) 67.2 (20.8) .58

Change (*) (SD) at 12 months from baseline +2.7 (32.4) -2.4 (28.4) .55

Functioning scales

Physical

Baseline score, mean (SD) 81.3 (15.9) 84.4(15.9) .33

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline -2.1 (30.5) -4.1 (22.4) .12

Baseline score, mean (SD) 54.8 (34.4) 67.2 (29.3) .051

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline +8.3 (43.6) +3.8 (38.4) .51

Social

Baseline score, mean (SD) 54.8 (32.4) 60.1 (24.2) .37

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline + 18.9 (38.9) +7.0 (32.4) .23

Cognitive

Baseline score, mean (SD) 77.8 (20.7) 83.9 (19.2) .13

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline +3.8(19.9) -12.4(18.2) .004

Emotional

Baseline score, mean (SD) 70.2(19.5) 74.0 (20.8) .36

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline +0.4 (28.5) +9.0 (20.3) .21

FACT-An

Baseline score, mean (SD) 57.6 (13.1) 59.4(13.2) .49

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline -1.4(23.1) -4.2(15.9) .60

FACT-BMT

Baseline score, mean (SD) 27.7 (5.6) 27.7 (5.7) .98

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline -0.8 (7.8) 0.5 (6.1) .51

HADS-Anxiety

Baseline score, mean (SD) 6.9 (4.5) 5.8 (3.5) .17

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline -1.2(4.5) -1.0 (3.9) .87

HADS-Depression

Baseline score, mean (SD) 4.6 (2.6) 4.1 (2.7) .36

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline -0.7 (3.5) 0.4 (3.7) .29

Baseline score, mean (SD) 14.1 (3.4) 12.8 (3.8) .07

Change (SD) at 12 months from baseline -0.6 (4.1) 0.1 (4.6) .56

*Change scores are based on observations that have measurements at 365 days and at baseline.

Figure 2. Longitudinal comparisons of HRQOL of patients undergoing myeloablative versus RIC in various domains of EORTC-QLQ-C30. (A) Global QOL score. (B) Physical functioning. (C) Role functioning. (D) Social functioning. (E) Cognitive functioning. (F) Emotional functioning.

to those reported by several retrospective studies in various myeloid malignancies [3,7-11,38]. A high peritransplantation mortality has been a major barrier to the use of MAC in older patients [39,40]. No adverse impact of age on any of the major outcomes was observed in our study, indicating that outcomes similar to younger patients can be achieved in older patients treated with RIC, who are not considered suitable candidates for MAC. In the multivariate analysis, the only factor influencing the survival outcomes was disease biology, as patients with high-risk disease had inferior outcomes irrespective of conditioning therapy. Similar results were also recently reported in an European Blood and Marrow Transplant Group retrospective study in patients with MDS and secondary AML [8].

Unlike other studies, we did not observe any significant difference in relapse rate among patients

undergoing RIC compared with MAC. Several reasons may explain this observation. The RIC protocol used at our center would be considered on the higher end of the intensity spectrum of RIC. The main indication for HCT was AML in CR1 and CR2. It is possible that for patients in CR, graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect is more important rather than intensity of conditioning therapy [3,11]. Similarly, NRM in the RIC group was not lower than that with MAC, and this may be because of differences in the median age (almost 2 decades), distribution of comorbidities in the 2 cohorts.

An important finding of this study is that the HRQOL of patients undergoing RIC or MAC was similar in the majority of the domains and symptoms at baseline and at 12 months. These data are reassuring for the referring physicians, as there is often concern expressed over the HRQOL of older patients and

Figure 3. Longitudinal comparisons of HRQOL of patients undergoing myeloablative versus RIC. (A) FACT-An (40-point scale).

0-point scale). (B) FACT-BMT

those with significant comorbidities who are undergoing HCT. The trajectory of decline and recovery of HRQOL was also similar in the 2 cohorts at 1 year, apart from a few differences. Both cohorts showed lowest HRQOL scores in most domains on day 30 posttransplantation and a slow and gradual improvement toward baseline scores over 6 to 12 months. Physical function in the RIC cohort was better at day 30, which is probably related to lower RRT and earlier hematopoietic recovery. A higher proportion of patients undergoing RIC had worsening of cognitive function scores from day 100 onward, even though cognitive function scores were similar in the 2 cohorts at baseline. There was no significant association between occurrence of acute or cGVHD or duration of GVHD treatment in the 2 arms (data not shown). A significantly higher proportion of older patients in the RIC cohort may explain this observation. Older patients may have less cognitive reserve, and potentially be prone to toxicities resulting from conditioning, calcineurin inhibitors, steroids, and infectious complications. An exploratory analysis of cognitive functioning in a relatively small sample size of patients age 41 to 59 years did not show any consistent pattern. Correlation with objective neuropsychologic testing would be important in future studies.

Two other studies have evaluated longitudinal QOL in patients undergoing RIC and compared with MAC [17,18]. A study from the National Institutes of Health evaluated longitudinal QOL in 76 patients undergoing HCT (RIC, 41; MAC, 35) and reported similar patterns of HRQOL in the 2 cohorts [17].

A major shortcoming of this study was the significant imbalance between the 2 cohorts in terms of disease indications for which HCT was performed. The study included patients with hematologic and nonhemato-logic malignancies; and patients with acute leukemia were mainly treated with MAC. Another study from Sweden evaluated 56 patients (RIC, 31; myeloablative, 25) and reported similar HRQOL at 1 year. This study included patients with a mixture of hematologic malignancies, nonmalignant blood disorders, and solid tumors. Several methodologic issues, such as clinical relevance of differences in HRQOL and handling of missing data, were not well addressed in these studies.

Several cautions need to be exercised in the interpretation of our findings. It is difficult to exclude a selection bias in favor of referring fitter older patients for HCT. Allocation of conditioning intensity was based on patient-related factors, such as older age, comor-bidities, and performance scores, rather than randomization. The patients who were considered unsuitable candidates for MAC were offered RIC. This could introduce biases related to physicians, perceptions of these conditioning regimens. Objective criteria for the allocation of RIC in preference to MAC are not defined at present and remain controversial. Although randomization represents an ideal method to avoid these biases, it is not feasible in older patients, given the toxicities of MAC.

The strengths of this study are related to the prospective design and comprehensive assessment of HRQOL using reliable and well-validated cancer-specific instruments. The study population is relatively

Table 6. Comparison of Changes in HRQOL Scores over Time in Patients Undergoing Myeloablative or Reduced-Intensity Conditioning

Baseline to Day 30 Baseline to Day 100 Baseline to Day 180 Baseline to Day 365

MAC RIC MAC RIC MAC RIC MAC RIC

Outcome Response n 5 38 n 5 56 n 5 35 n 5 46 n 5 30 n 5 37 n 5 22 n 5 31

Global health Improved 21% 11% 34% 22% 43% 27% 45% 35%

Unchanged 29% 45% 26% 37% 23% 30% 18% 35%

Worse 50% 45% 40% 41% 37% 43% 36% 29%

P 5 .21 P 5 .37 P 5 .39 P 5 .41

Physical functioning Improved 11% 1.8% 17% 15% 17% 13% 32% 23%

Unchanged 21% 55% 46% 50% 30% 51% 41% 52%

Worse 68% 43% 37% 35% 53% 36% 27% 26%

P = .001 P 5 .91 P 5 .22 P 5 .72

Role functioning Improved 26% 21% 46% 30% 50% 36% 45% 52%

Unchanged 24% 23% 17% 16% 13% 31% 23% 23%

Worse 50% 55% 37% 43% 37% 33% 32% 26%

P 5 .89 P 5 .37 P 5 .25 P 5 .93

Emotional functioning Improved 34% 30% 31% 35% 23% 35% 32% 42%

Unchanged 47% 61% 43% 54% 57% 51% 41% 48%

Worse 18% 9% 26% 11% 20% 14% 27% 10%

P 5 .29 P 5 .22 P 5 .53 P 5 .30

Cognitive functioning Improved 18% 14% 46% 17% 40% 19% 36% 6%

Unchanged 26% 13% 34% 41% 47% 35% 41% 42%

Worse 55% 13% 20% 41% 13% 46% 23% 52%

P 5 .29 P = .02 P = .01 P = .01

Social functioning Improved 26% 21% 43% 33% 43% 38% 55% 48%

Unchanged 24% 25% 14% 28% 23% 27% 18% 26%

Worse 50% 54% 43% 39% 33% 35% 27% 26%

P 5 .85 P 5 .31 P 5 .91 P 5 .87

Fatigue Improved 68% 61% 51% 48% 47% 46% 45% 39%

Unchanged 16% 27% 20% 26% 23% 28% 18% 29%

Worse 16% 12% 29% 26% 30% 26% 36% 32%

P 5 .48 P 5 .84 P 5 .91 P 5 .73

FACT-An Improved 26% 16% 34% 26% 37% 28% 55% 32%

Unchanged 13% 29% 23% 26% 10% 18% 5% 19%

Worse 61% 55% 43% 48% 53% 54% 41% 48%

P 5 .16 P 5 .77 P 5 .63 P 5 .15

FACT-BMT Improved 18% 18% 14% 41% 23% 31% 27% 43%

Unchanged 24% 26% 34% 25% 23% 42% 27% 33%

Worse 58% 43% 51% 34% 53% 28% 45% 23%

P 5 .30 P = .03 P 5 .10 P 5 .28

HADS-Anxiety Improved 19% 18% 18% 13% 17% 15% 24% 19%

Unchanged 35% 39% 38% 50% 48% 38% 33% 32%

Worse 46% 43% 44% 37% 34% 46% 43% 48%

P 5 .96 P 5 .61 P 5 .65 P 5 .93

HADS-Depression Improved 35% 36% 35% 26% 41% 31% 19% 12%

Unchanged 54% 45% 32% 48% 24% 31% 48% 44%

Worse 11% 20% 32% 26% 34% 38% 33% 23%

P 5 .53 P 5 .40 P 5 .68 P 5 .75

IADL Improved 23% 15% 35% 38% 30% 46% 38% 25%

Unchanged 5.4% 19% 15% 31% 30% 22% 19% 20%

Worse 73% 67% 50% 31% 40% 32% 43% 37%

P 5 .19 P 5 .15 P 5 .45 P 5 .93

MAC indicates myeloablative conditioning; RIC, reduced-intensity conditioning; HRQOL, health-related quality of life. Note: P values based on the Fisher exact test.

larger and more homogenous in comparison to previous studies for HRQOL data [17,18] and the study benefits from a high completion rate of HRQOL assessments. The main reason for noncompletion of HRQOL assessment was sickness resulting from transplant-related toxicities or disease relapse; patient refusal or consent withdrawal was small. The collection of HRQOL data requires active patient participation, which is difficult although not impossible to achieve when patients are very ill. Keeping this in mind, we captured prospectively the reasons for

noncompletion of HRQOL assessments. Additionally, we imputed missing data in a worst-case sensitivity analysis to attempt to account for missing data. This did not materially alter our findings, suggesting that response bias was not a major issue.

In summary, our study confirms that the clinical outcomes and HRQOL in patients with myeloid malignancies undergoing RIC are not inferior to MAC. The trajectory of decline and recovery of HRQOL in the 2 cohorts is similar. Extended follow-up of this study is in progress to assess the impact of long-term

complications such as cGVHD on HRQOL in these patients.

AUTHORSHIP STATEMENT

V.G. designed the study, obtained the research funding, supervised the conduct of study, interpreted the data, and wrote the manuscript; S.M.H.A. contributed to the grant writing, provided knowledge and insights regarding HRQOL, interpretation of data, and critical review of manuscript; T.P. and L.L. did the statistical analysis and interpreted the data; J.K. and A.J. coordinated the study and interpreted the data; J.L., J.K., and H.M. provided the study patients and critically reviewed the manuscript; all authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

Financialdisclosure: V.G. received a research grant from Otsuka pharmaceuticals (formerly PDL Bio-pharma) in support of this study. S.M.H.A. is a Research Scientist of the Canadian Cancer Society.

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