Survival rates and tolerability of platinum-based chemotherapy regimens for elderly patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

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Costa, Guilherme Jorge [UNIFESP]
Fernandes, Ana Luisa Godoy [UNIFESP]
Pereira, Jose Rodrigues
Curtis, J. Randall
Santoro, Ilka Lopes
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Background: the combination therapy for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with platinum-based treatment is well known, but its utility in elderly has not been explored systematically. Aim: To examine whether aging compromises survival or exacerbates toxicity in patients with advanced lung cancer receiving platinum-based treatment.Methods: We performed a nested case-control study in a cohort of chemotherapy naive patients enrolled January 1998-December 2003. Cases were consecutive patients over 70 at diagnosis with stage III or IV NSCLC. Controls were a subset of patients under 70 years matched by stage and year in which they had been treated. All patients received Cisplatin (80 mg/m(2)) or Carboplatin (4-6 AUC), every 4 weeks, followed by Vinorelbine (30 mg/m(2)) for a maximum of six courses. the medical history, physical examination and tumor imaging evaluation were performed at baseline and then monthly. Survival was calculated by Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test was used for survival comparisons. Chi-squared test was used to compare side effects in the two groups.Results: A total of 419 patients were identified for the case-control study (205 elderly/214 young) with 3.6 cycles per patient, on average. the 2- and 3-year survival, rates were 20.5% and 6.8% for elderly patients and 9.8% and 2.3% for younger patients (p = 0.017 and 0.014, respectively for 2 and 3 years). the proportion of patients with adverse effects, either grade 3 or 4, was the same in both groups at 2 years (43.9% versus 43.9%; P = 0.99).Conclusions: Although elderly patients may self-select or be selected to be healthier, our findings suggest that elderly patients currently undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer do as well or better than younger patients. Elderly age alone should not preclude patients from receiving platinum-based chemotherapy, since it seems well tolerated and effective in non-small-cell lung cancer among elderly patients. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lung Cancer. Clare: Elsevier B.V., v. 53, n. 2, p. 171-176, 2006.