Haematology updates from SIOG 2020

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Published: 13 Jan 2021
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Dr Tanya Wildes - SIOG Science & Education Committee Chair

Dr Tanya Wildes speaks to ecancer about the updates in haematology from the SIOG 2020 meeting.

Dr Wildes says that for many years the research for geriatric solid tumour based cancer has been a few steps ahead of the haematological geriatric cancers but this year more evidence has been obtained that bought this specific area of research forward. She then talks about the top ten studies from SIOG this year that have captured her interest and she thinks are important.

In the end, Dr Wildes adds her own reflections from SIOG 2020 and mentions the future of geriatric care.

We had a number of updates really expanding the evidence base in geriatric haematology. For many years the solid tumour evidence base for older adults with cancer had been a few steps ahead of the geriatric haematology but this year we are reaching a critical mass of evidence which has resulted in a top ten that I selected for presentation at the annual meeting. This included the generation of new knowledge related to prognostic factors and frailty in older adults with lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome and in the transplant setting. In addition, there were a number of consensus papers and guidelines including a piece from the European Myeloma Network about frailty in older adults with myeloma as well as two guidelines for leukaemia in older adults. These included an APL, acute promyelocytic leukemia, guidelines paper headed by Dr Heidi Klepin and representing a SIOG position paper. In addition, led by Dr Sekeres, the American Society of Haematology put out a guidelines paper for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia in older adults.

In addition, there were some papers that were really helping us to advance and improve the care of older adults with hematologic malignancies. One in particular, led by Dr Sherman, included the data regarding a multidisciplinary clinic that was for transplant optimisation. What they demonstrated were improved outcomes over a time series in which this multidisciplinary outpatient clinic was implemented in order to optimise the health status of an older adult prior to allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

In addition, Dr Nathwani presented the implementation of a brief geriatric assessment using a tablet-based approach to gathering frailty data in order to calculate the IMWG frailty score for older adults with myeloma. What was intriguing about this is that it will allow for the implementation of frailty screening in a seamless way into a clinic using an approach that does not require tremendous clinician time in order to gather that data to risk stratify the patient based on frailty.

We missed gathering together in person; I look forward to the time that we can get together again in the future after the pandemic. While we haven’t been able to gather in person the incredible work by the SIOG community to advance the care of our older adults with hematologic malignancies and solid tumours across the oncology spectrum has continued. So we really look forward to continuing to improve the care of older adults with both hematologic and solid tumour malignancies moving forward.