Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (April 29th, 2010) - Although more than two fifths of lung cancers are diagnosed in patients over 70, data from clinical trials on the safest and most effective treatments for this age group are scarce. Now Italian oncologists are conducting a number of trials targeting elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and offer a review of the latest findings - and their recommendations - in the current issue of Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, published by SAGE.
According to Paolo Maione, Antonio Rossi, Cesare Gridelli and colleagues from S.G. Moscati Hospital in Avellino, Italy, elderly patients have more co-morbidity and don't tend to tolerate toxic medical treatments as well as younger patients. This means that clinical findings from studies on younger populations don't necessarily apply to the majority of elderly patients with NSCLC.
More than half of all cases of advanced NSCLC are diagnosed in patients over 65, and recent Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program data from the United States show that patients aged 70 years or older account for 47 percent of all lung cancers. Most prospective clinical data on chemotherapy and molecularly targeted therapy for elderly NSCLC patients come from studies in advanced disease. Unfortunately, by the time most patients from any age group receive a lung cancer diagnosis, the majority already have metastatic disease and a systemic, palliative treatment is their primary therapeutic option.
Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is currently recommended as the standard approach for patients with advanced NSCLC. However, to date, no prospective phase III study has explored the reproducibility of this benefit in elderly patients, the authors say. "The evaluation of cisplatin-based chemotherapy in elderly patients, in our opinion should be a priority," says one of the study authors, Cesare Gridelli.
|Contact: Jayne Fairley|
SAGE Publications UK