Non-small cell lung cancer therapy: safety and efficacy in the elderly
Owen S Glotzer,1 Thomas Fabian,1 Anurag Chandra,2 Charles T Bakhos2
1Division of Thoracic Surgery, Albany Medical Center, Department of Surgery, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA; 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Albany Medical Center, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA
Background: Our objective was to evaluate and review the current literature on the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the elderly.
Methods: We selected recent peer-reviewed articles addressing ageing, cancer treatment in the elderly, and lung cancer treatment in the elderly. We defined elderly as over the age of 70.
Results: The population is ageing dramatically throughout most of the world. Given that situation, clinicians are seeing and being asked to treat more elderly patients that have NSCLC. Elderly patients are less likely to participate or be allowed to participate in prospective or retrospective studies of treatments for NSCLC. Elderly patients are also less likely to be staged appropriately for their advanced tumors, and are less likely to be referred for surgery or adjuvant therapy after surgery. When treatment is tailored to patient comorbidities but not to age, the data support survival and outcomes comparable to those of younger patients.
Conclusions: Data are limited on the treatment of elderly patients with NSCLC. No data exist to support limiting recommendations for treatment based on age alone. Treatments should be determined on an individual basis.
Keywords: thoracic surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, pulmonary, physiology, ageing, SBRT
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