Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Palliative treatment for elderly patients with colon cancer

Palliative treatment for elderly patients with colon cancer in ten Italian medical oncology units.
Anticancer research, May-Jun 2008, vol. 28, no. 3B,
p. 1813-20
Pasetto-Lara-Maria, Falci-Cristina, Rizzo-Elisa, De-Salvo-Gian-Luca, Gasparini-Giampietro et al
BACKGROUND: Palliative chemotherapy significantly reduces mortality in patients with stage IV colon cancer, but is less prescribed with rising age. In this paper, we highlight the pattern of palliative treatment and possible effects on survival among elderly patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From January to December 2004, 78 files on the management of stage IV colorectal cancer (CRC) patients over 70 years, collected from 10 Italian Centres, were retrospectively examined. Determinants of receipt of palliative chemotherapy and their relation to toxicity and survival were considered. RESULTS: The proportion of elderly patients receiving first-line palliative chemotherapy was 98.7% and it was evaluated according to age, gender, educational level and comorbidities; patients receiving second-line therapy comprised 47.4%, those receiving third-line therapy 14.1% and those treated with a fourth-line therapy totalled 2.6%. Forty-one percent of patients received best supportive care (BSC) alone. CONCLUSION: In Italy, a proportion of elderly patients with metastatic chemonaive CRC are usually treated with a tolerability and overall survival similar to those for the younger population. Among progressive patients after second-line therapy, 45.8% usually undergo third line therapy; the remaining 54.2% undergo BSC.

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