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Radiology. 1999 Jun;211(3):829-33.

Cancer in patients aged 90 years or older: radiation therapy.

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Department of Radiology and Radiation Oncology, Gunma University School of Medicine, Japan.



To investigate the clinical efficacy of radiation therapy for cancer in patients aged 90 years or older.


Cancer cases in 32 patients (11 men, 21 women) aged 90 years or older who underwent radiation therapy in 1970-1997 were retrospectively analyzed. The mean patient age was 92.2 years, with a range of 90-98 years. Head and neck cancer (n = 14 [44%]) and skin cancer (n = 6 [19%]) were the most common.


Eleven (79%) of the 14 patients with head and neck cancer were treated with curative intent. Radiation response without any severe complication was observed in nine (90%) of the 10 patients with head and neck cancer treated with curative intent who finished treatment. The median survival time was 8 months (range, 3-55 months) in the 10 patients with head and neck cancer who completed treatment with curative intent. Complete response was achieved in all of the patients with skin cancer without any major sequelae. Complete response was also observed in all three of the patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but two patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy died of drug-induced pneumonitis. Palliation was achieved in all nine of the patients treated with palliative intent.


Age of 90 years or older is not a limiting factor for radiation therapy.

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