Our Research

Older Adult Care Program: Research Studies

lensLung Cancer in Older Adults: Treatment Toxicity Through the Patient’s Lens (PI: Melisa L. Wong, Clinical Research Coordinator: Vivian Lam)

The goal of this prospective, mixed methods cohort study is to characterize changes in functional status and quality of life during systemic non-small cell lung cancer treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or targeted therapy) among older adults age >65.

This study is actively enrolling at UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Zuckerberg San Francisco General.

Key publications:

Melisa WongAdaptation of the Best Case/Worst Case communication tool for older adults with lung cancer (PI: Melisa L. Wong, Clinical Research Coordinator: Vivian Lam)

The goal of this focus group study is to evaluate the acceptability and applicability of the Best Case/Worst Case communication tool for treatment discussions with older adults with lung cancer through focus groups with i) older lung cancer patients, ii) caregivers, and iii) medical oncologists.

This study will start enrolling at UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in summer 2019.

Rebecca Olin

Using a Cancer-Specific Geriatric Assessment to Predict Toxicity in Older Patients Undergoing Stem Cell Transplantation (PI: Rebecca L. Olin; mentee: Li-Wen Huang)

The goal of this prospective cohort study is to determine whether comprehensive geriatric assessment, including measures of functional status, is associated with post-transplant outcomes in older adults aged ≥50 undergoing autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation for hematologic malignancies.

Utilizing data from this cohort study, a separate project will aim to investigate whether baseline geriatric impairments or global frailty predict cognitive decline after allogeneic transplantation in older adults. (PI: Li-Wen Huang; mentors: Rebecca L. Olin, Michael A. Steinman)

Key publications:

Emily Finlayson

Improving Surgical Care and Outcomes in Older Cancer Patients Through Implementation of an Efficient Pre-Surgical Toolkit (OPTI-Surg) (site leaders: Emily Finlayson, MD, MS, Daniel Dohan, PhD)

The goal of this multi-site interventional trial is to compare 2-month postoperative function after cancer-directed surgery among adults aged 70 or older at sites randomized to implement the OPTI-Surg toolkit with or without a coach versus sites randomized to usual care. The OPTI-Surg toolkit aims to detect frailty before surgery and prepare a tailored plan of care to reduce the potential impacts of frailty after surgery, including recommendations for physical activity, diet, alterations to the home environment, and tools to support independence at home.

OPTI-Surg is sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and will be carried out in 30 cancer centers throughout the United States. This study will start recruiting at the UCSF Center for Surgery in Older Adults in summer 2019.

For more information about OPTI-Surg, visit clinicaltrials.gov: NCT03857620

Li-Wen Huang

Fractures after R-CHOP-like chemotherapy for aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (mentor: Charalambos Andreadis; mentee: Li-Wen Huang)

The goal of this project is to evaluate the prevalence and incidence of fractures in patients with aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas treated with chemotherapy regimens which can result in significant bone loss.

Key publication:

Louise Walter

Palliative care use in older adults receiving systemic treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer (PI: Louise Walter; mentee: YaoYao Pollock)

The goal of this study is to understand real world palliative utilization rate and overall survival among patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer receiving treatment in the VA system across the country.

YaoYao Pollock

Predictors of falls and fractures in patients receiving Apalutamide for non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mentor: Eric Small; mentee: YaoYao Pollock)


The goal of this study is to better understand why patients receiving Apalutamide are at higher risk of falling and to identify risk factors associated with higher risk of falls and fractures.

Key publication:

Other key publications