In a nutshell
This study investigated the negative side effects of targeted therapy to treat elderly and younger metastatic (spread to other parts of the body) colorectal cancer patients. Researchers suggested that side effects were different between these patients.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. This cancer is more frequent in elderly patients with nearly more than one third of cases diagnosed in patients aged 75 years or older. Targeted therapy alone or combined with chemotherapy are recommended to treat colorectal cancer. Targeted therapies target small molecules involved in cancer growth. However, the side effects of these treatments in elderly patients are not well studied.
Methods & findings
This study included information on 21,565 patients diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer. The average age was 64 years and 15% of the patients were aged more than 75 years old. Among the elderly patients panitumumab (Vectibix) was the most used targeted therapy. Cetuximab (Erbitux) was the most used targeted therapy in younger patients.
Severe side effects were seen in 74% of the patients and were fatal in 11%. Low white blood cell levels occured equally between the groups. Overall, gastrointestinal issues were also balanced between the age groups. However, diarrhea was reported more in elderly patients treated with panitumumab. Heart disease was also reported more in elderly patients treated with bevacizumab (Avastin), cetuximab (Erbitux) and regorafenib (Stivarga). Respiratory events were also seen more often in elderly patients.
The bottom line
This study determined that negative side effects related to targeted therapy were different between young and older patients. However, these effects were not necessarily worse in elderly patients.
Published By :
Oct 11, 2017
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