Stem cell transplantation is a potential curative procedure for many patients with hematologic malignancies. These patients because of age, comorbid medical conditions, and prior therapies can present in various physical conditions from good performance status to frail, which may affect transplant outcomes.
To assess the relationship of measurable physical conditioning metrics to survival, progression-free survival, relapse rate, and transplant-related morbidity and mortality in the context of our current rehabilitation program.
We conducted a retrospective review of 207 patients who had undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with 6 months of follow-up. Data were collected from their pretransplant rehabilitation evaluation and their 60-day posttransplant evaluation including their Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score, Timed Up and Go, pain, fatigue, and distress measurements. Using their KPS score patients were categorized as high performers (KPS ≥80) and low performers (KPS ≤70).
Patients experienced significant decreases in pain, fatigue, and distress after transplant. There were no significant differences in overall survival, progression-free survival, relapse rate, or transplant-related mortality between high and low performers. When controlling for transplant type, high performers had half the risk of dying compared with low performers.
Our study demonstrated better posttransplant standard measures regardless of initial performance status. Our data suggest that patients with a better pretransplant performance status have better overall survival. One limitation of our study is the exercise program was not supervised and adherence is unknown.