A team from Germany and Switzerland investigated the inclusion of elderly patients with colorectal cancer in chemotherapy trials.
The researchers reviewed the available literature on adjuvant and metastatic colorectal cancer in order to identify reports on elderly patients.
Only about 20% of patients entering clinical chemotherapy trials were found to belong to the age group of over 70 years, and represented the minority of the very fit patients.
|Only 20% of patients entering chemotherapy trials are over 70 years.|
|Annals of Oncology|
Compared to their younger counterparts, 5-FU-based treatment appeared to be equally effective and more toxic according to some reports.
Data regarding raltitrexed, oral fluoropyrimidines, topoisomerase I inhibitors or DACH-platin derivates was limited, but suggested no age-specific differences in activity or toxicity.
Researcher C-H. Köhne, of the Rostock University, Germany, said on behalf of the group, "Elderly patients should not be excluded from clinical trials and studies in unfit elderly patients are warranted.
"Elderly patients need more attention regarding their functional, social, and mental status."
"Fit elderly patients should be offered adjuvant or palliative chemotherapy," it was concluded.