ESH Video


January 15, 2014




European School of Haematology International Conference on

Haematological Disorders in the Elderly

Barcelona, 6-7 November 2013

Chairs: L. Balducci, M. Björkholm, and P. Fenaux

Local Organizer: E. Montserrat

The European School of Haematology (ESH) hosted in Barcelona from 6 to 7 November 2013 an international meeting on haematological disorders in the elderly. The meeting was organized to provide a comprehensive review of the aspects to be considered when managing elderly patients with a variety of hematological disturbances. The meeting started by reviewing demographic aspects, physiological changes encountered in the elderly, as well as the definition of older and elderly people, frailty and comorbidity. The necessity of using simple, reproducible, and clinically useful tools to evaluate the functional stats, frailty, and comorbidity of elderly patients was highlighted. In this regards, the EORTC and SIOG guidelines for managing elderly subjects were summarized.  In subsequent sessions more specific aspects such as bone marrow function in the elderly (including the impact of ageing on stem cells biology) and anaemias were dissected. Also, disturbances in immune surveillance and infections occurring in the elderly were reviewed.  The meeting also included several disease-oriented talks embracing acute leukaemias, myeloproliferative disorders, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, myelodysplasia, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. The necessity of conducting trials in older subjects unfit for standard chemotherapy and inmunochemotherapy regimens was emphasized. Fortunately, there are already many trials focusing in the elderly going on. In this regard, the advent of new agents targeting specific pathogenic pathways offers hope for more effective, less toxic, and individualized treatment approaches. Also from the perspective of treatment, bone marrow transplant results were reviewed; there is need here to switch from traditional bone marrow transplantation strategies to safer cell therapy approaches. The non-malignant component of the meeting revolved vascular risk in elderly patients and the use of new anticoagulant agents in this population. The oral sessions were complemented by a well-attended poster session.
Since life expectancy has been dramatically increasing in the last three-four decades and the incidence of cancer, including blood tumors, is particularly high in people at an advanced age, to dedicate resources and attention to the ageing physiology and specific problems of haematological disorders  in the elderly, is a medical need. Cooperation between basic research, geriatricians, psychologists and clinicians is essential to improve the outlook of elderly people with these disorders. For all these reasons, this meeting, nicely and professionally organized by the ESH, was not only successful but also timely. Future versions of it are highly warranted.


Emili Montserrat
Institute of Hematology and Oncology
Department of Hematology
Hospital Clinic
University of Barcelona