Original Study| Volume 22, ISSUE 9, P1825-1830.e1, September 2021

Impact of Preoperative Social Frailty on Overall Survival and Cancer-Specific Survival among Older Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer



      Frailty is a multidimensional syndrome. However, typical frailty scales used in oncology clinics assess physical impairment and/or malnutrition but do not consider the social domain. Our study aimed to clarify the relationship between preoperative social frailty and overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) among older patients with gastrointestinal cancer.


      This was a prospective cohort study.

      Setting and Participants

      This single-center study recruited 195 patients with gastrointestinal cancer scheduled for curative surgery and aged >60 years.


      The outcomes considered were the OS and CSS of surgery. Primary associated factors included frailty defined as a Geriatric 8 score ≤14; social frailty defined as 2 or more of the following—going out less frequently, rarely visiting friends, feeling unhelpful to friends or family, living alone, and not talking with someone daily, and combinations therein [no frailty without social frailty (−/−), frailty without social frailty (+/−), no frailty with social frailty (−/+), and frailty with social frailty (+/+)]. We used the Cox proportional hazards model and the Fine and Gray proportional subdistribution hazard model adjusting for confounding factors.


      Of the 195 patients, 181 (mean age, 72.0 years) were included for analysis. The median follow-up time was 994 days. Social frailty (hazard ratio 3.10) and their combinations [6.35; frailty with social frailty (+/+) vs no frailty without social frailty (−/−)] were significant predictors of OS. Social frailty (subdistribution hazard ratio 3.23) and their combinations (7.57) were significant predictors of CSS.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Preoperative social frailty is a predictor of OS and CSS in older patients with gastrointestinal cancer. Screening for social frailty, frailty, and their combinations in older patients with cancer is important.


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