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Lung Cancer. 2011 Nov;74(2):149-54. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2011.05.025. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Are we treating enough elderly patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer?

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, University General Hospital of Heraklion, Voutes-Stavrakion Embranchement, 71305 Heraklion, Greece.


Despite the fact that non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is very common in the older population, these patients are frequently underrepresented in clinical trials evaluating new anti-cancer agents, and thus it is difficult to reach evidence-based recommendations for this special population. The purpose of the present paper is to present the currently available evidence regarding treatment of early-stages of NSCLC in older patients. Although, age is still considered as a negative factor influencing treatment decisions and curative cancer-directed surgery is often omitted in the older population several studies support that surgical resection is feasible in the older patient and that age per se is not a contraindication for various surgical procedures. Pneumonectomy is associated with a higher mortality in the older population and this issue should be taken into account when deciding whether a patient is suitable for pneumonectomy. Older patients should be considered for adjuvant chemotherapy after surgical resection although little information is available regarding the real benefit and tolerability of these regimens for patients over 75 years of age. Given the lack of demonstrated benefit for the use of adjuvant RT it is also not recommended in older population.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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