Hematopoietic cell transplantation-comorbidity index and Karnofsky performance status are independent predictors of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic nonmyeloablative hematopoietic cell transplantation




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).


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/m2. 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.


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.


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. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.