University of Rochester CTSI Career Development Scholar Links Frailty to Inflammation in Cancer Patients

Nikesha Gilmore and her mentor, Michelle Janelsins in the lab.

Frailty, which is characterized by weakness, fatigue and weight loss, is a common occurrence among patients with cancer and can impact their quality of life and survival. A recent study led by a KL2 Career Development scholar, funded by the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute, links frailty to inflammation levels in the blood of women with breast cancer. Women with greater increases of inflammation in their blood during chemotherapy were more likely to experience frailty after chemotherapy.

“Our findings confirm that oncologists should consider inflammation and frailty in their patients, and perhaps personalize treatment, especially in older adults, to avoid undue risks of chemotherapy toxicity,” said Nikesha Gilmore, Ph.D., a research assistant professor of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Gilmore’s study was partially funded by the UR CTSI’s KL2 Career Development Award program. She received the award in 2020 to investigate frailty in older colon cancer survivors – especially those who identify as African American or Black because they are disproportionately affected by both colon cancer and frailty. She is currently conducting a clinical trial to test whether the anti-inflammatory epigallocatechin-3-Gallate, commonly called EGCG, can reduce inflammation and frailty in this population.

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