Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation-Comorbidity Index and Karnofsky Performance Status Are Independent Predictors of Morbidity and Mortality After Allogeneic Nonmyeloablative Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

Cancer. 2008 May 1;112(9):1992-2001. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23375.


Background: Elderly and medically infirm cancer patients are increasingly offered allogeneic nonmyeloablative hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). A better understanding of the impact of health status on HCT outcomes is warranted. Herein, a recently developed HCT-specific comorbidity index (HCT-CI) was compared with a widely acceptable measure of health status, the Karnofsky performance status (KPS).

Methods: The outcomes of 341 patients were evaluated, conditioned for either related or unrelated HCT by 2-gray (Gy) total body irradiation given alone or combined with fludarabine at a dose of 90 mg/m(2). Comorbidities were assessed retrospectively by the HCT-CI. Performance status before and toxicities after HCT were graded prospectively using the KPS and National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity criteria, respectively.

Results: Weak Spearman rank correlations were noted between HCT-CI and KPS and between the 2 measures and age, number of prior chemotherapy regimens, and intervals between diagnosis and HCT (all r < 0.20). High-risk diseases correlated significantly with higher mean HCT-CI scores (P = .009) but not low KPS (P = .37). In multivariate models, the HCT-CI had significantly greater independent predictive power for toxicities (P = .004), nonrelapse mortality (P = .0002), and overall mortality (P = .0002) compared with the KPS (P = .05, .13, and .05, respectively). Using consolidated HCT-CI and KPS scores, patients were stratified into 4 risk groups with 2-year survivals of 68%, 58%, 41%, and 32%, respectively.

Conclusions: HCT-CI and KPS should be assessed simultaneously before HCT. The use of both tools combined likely refines risk-stratification for HCT outcomes. Novel guidelines for assessment of performance status among HCT patients are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Health Status
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Karnofsky Performance Status*
  • Middle Aged
  • Transplantation Conditioning
  • Transplantation, Homologous