In a nutshell
This article looked at whether anti-cancer treatments can improve the outcomes of older patients with metastatic (cancer that has spread to a new location) non-small cell lung cancer (mNSCLC). The authors found that outcomes were improved with anti-cancer therapies in these patients.
NSCLC is responsible for around 85% of all lung cancer diagnoses worldwide. Standard treatment for NSCLC is chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgical removal of tumors. Despite existing treatment options prognosis is poor when cancer has spread to other organs and tissues (metastases). Older adults are more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer than younger adults. Older people are also more likely to have additional medical conditions that reduce their overall quality of life and ability to tolerate aggressive treatments.
Recent developments in anti-cancer treatments have improved the treatment outcomes of patients with advanced-stage disease and have also reduced the side effects of conventional chemotherapies. However, still in clinical trials, older adults are underrepresented due to associated medical conditions or frailty. Therefore, it is not clear if current anti-cancer treatments improve the outcomes in older patients with mNSCLC.
Methods & findings
A total of 542 patients with mNSCLC aged 65 or older were involved in this study. Their outcomes were evaluated in relation to the treatment they received. Patients received either supportive treatment (ST; treatment to alleviate symptoms only), chemotherapy (CT) alone, targeted therapy (TT), or switched from CT to TT or from TT to CT (crossover; CO).
Patients who received TT, CO, or CT had a higher chance of a longer overall survival compared to ST. TT was associated with a 65% better survival. CO was associated with a 48.3% better survival and CT was associated with a 45.6% better survival compared to ST.
Patients with better fitness and younger than 85 years had a longer survival than those older or with poor fitness.
The bottom line
The authors found that anticancer treatments can improve the outcomes of older patients with mNSCLC.
The fine print
This study was based on medical records. Information might have been missing. This may have influenced the results.
Published By :
Cancer management and research
Dec 31, 2020