Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer. 2004 Oct 15;101(8):1733-44.

Potential role of molecularly targeted therapy in the management of advanced nonsmall cell lung carcinoma in the elderly.

Author information

Division of Medical Oncology, San Giuseppe Moscati Hospital, Avellino, Italy.



More than 50% of all lung carcinoma cases are diagnosed in patients age > 65 years, and approximately 30% are diagnosed in patients age > 70 years. Elderly patients do not tolerate chemotherapy as well as their younger counterparts do, primarily because of the increased prevalence of comorbid conditions and organ failure. Thus, at present, the majority of elderly patients with malignant disease do not receive aggressive chemotherapy. For such elderly patients, alternatives to conventional chemotherapy, such as novel molecularly targeted therapy regimens, are of interest.


The current review summarizes contemporary approaches to and recent advances in the treatment of elderly patients with nonsmall cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and offers perspectives on the future of molecularly targeted therapy in this population. Inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and cyclooxygenase-2 are discussed in the current report, with such inhibitors being, in our opinion, among the best candidates for clinical development in the setting of interest.


Novel biologic agents with putative activity against advanced NSCLC are at various stages of clinical development. Some of these agents have yielded benefits in terms of disease-related symptom reduction, quality of life, and survival. For elderly patients, the potential advantages of such agents include improved tolerability compared with conventional chemotherapy. This feature also makes these novel agents attractive alternatives for younger patients who cannot tolerate or are reluctant to receive conventional chemotherapy.


Current studies are investigating the safety and efficacy of these novel biologic agents administered alone, in combination with other noncytotoxic agents, and in combination with conventional chemotherapy. These studies will help elucidate the role of targeted therapy in the management of elderly patients with advanced NSCLC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center