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J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Jan;5(1):90-8. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181c0a128.

Chemotherapy-associated toxicity in a large cohort of elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. dale.s.hardy@uth.tmc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The objective of this study was to examine the risks for short-term (< or =3 months) and long-term (>3 months) chemotherapy-associated toxicities in a large population-based cohort of patients with non-small cell lung cancer from 1991 to 2002.

METHODS:

The population consisted of 41,361 men and 30,804 women > or =65 years identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare-linked database. The incidence of 50 toxicity-associated end points was calculated for 14 chemotherapy agents. Short- and long-term toxicities with a > or =2-fold increase in incidence compared with the no-chemotherapy group were defined as chemotherapy-associated toxicities. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the risk of toxicity were calculated for the four most common chemotherapy agents for non-small cell lung cancer: cisplatin/carboplatin, paclitaxel, vinorelbine/vinblastine, and gemcitabine.

RESULTS:

The most common short-term toxicities (9.2-60%) included acute anemia, nausea, and neutropenia. The most common long-term toxicities (15-37%) included acute anemia, respiratory failure, pulmonary fibrosis, dehydration, neutropenia, nausea, and fever. Multivariate analysis for selected chemotherapies demonstrated that after adjusting for other risk factors and confounders, some short-term toxicities became nonsignificant; however, almost all long-term toxicities remained significant. Long-term toxicity increased over time and was more likely in women, minority populations, those with fewer baseline comorbidities, and across disease stages.

CONCLUSIONS:

The administration of various chemotherapy agents for non-small cell lung was associated with a number of short- and long-term toxicities. The projected survival benefits of chemotherapy must be weighed against the risk of long-term toxicities.

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