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Posted by on Aug 21, 2013 in Colorectal cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

In this study, researchers examined how adjuvant chemotherapy benefits colon cancer patients over the age of 75.

Some background

Adjuvant chemotherapy (the addition of chemotherapy to another treatment, such as surgery) has been shown to benefit survival in multiple trials and is considered common practice for patients with advanced colorectal cancer. However, although half of all patients with colon cancer are over the age of 70, this age group is underrepresented in most clinical trials. As a result, little is known about the ability of adjuvant chemotherapy to reduce distant recurrence (the return of the cancer in other organs) in older patients.

Methods & findings

1,291 patients with stage III colon cancer and who received surgery were followed in this study. 37% of patients were 75 years of age or older and 56% of patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Overall 31% of patients developed distant recurrence.

Analysis showed that tumor size and lymph node involvement were linked to the risk of distant recurrence in young and old patients alike. Adjuvant chemotherapy reduced the risk of distant recurrence by about 50%, regardless of patient age. For patients 75 years of age or more, adjuvant chemotherapy reduced the risk of distant recurrence by 64% compared to patients not receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.

The bottom line

This study concluded that adjuvant chemotherapy reduces the risk of distant recurrence regardless of patient age, and should be considered for any patient healthy enough to withstand treatment.

The fine print

Although this study addressed the efficiency of adjuvant chemotherapy, it did not assess whether older patients suffer from more treatment related toxic side-effects.

What’s next?

Consult with your physician regarding the benefits and risks of adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced colon cancer.

Published By :

Annals of oncology

Date :

Aug 08, 2013

Original Title :

Reduced risk of distant recurrence after adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with stage III colon cancer aged 75 years or older.

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