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J Clin Oncol. 2010 May 1;28(13):2191-7. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.4052. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

Chemotherapy and survival benefit in elderly patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland Baltimore, 220 Arch St, 12th Floor, Room 214, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.



Platinum-doublet chemotherapy regimens have been shown to extend survival in fit patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (AdvNSCLC). This study extends recent population-based analyses focusing on treatment and survival benefit from use of platinum-doublet therapy, and addressing the role of performance status (PS).


Patients >or= 66 years with AdvNSCLC incident from 1997 to 2002 were identified in SEER-Medicare. Multivariate models examined tumor and patient characteristics associated with receipt of any chemotherapy and receipt of platinum-doublet compared with single-agent therapy. Nonparametric models estimated treatment effects on survival. Models controlled for patient characteristics, including a novel method to use claims-based indicators to characterize PS. Propensity score analysis adjusted for confounding.


Of the 21,285 patients, 25.8% received first-line chemotherapy. Multivariate analyses indicate lower use of any chemotherapy and platinum-based doublet regimens with increasing age, comorbidity, and poor PS. Receipt of any chemotherapy was associated with reduction in the adjusted hazard of death (0.558; 95% CI, 0.547 to 0.569) and an increase in adjusted 1-year survival from 11.6% (95% CI, 11.1 to 12.0) to 27.0% (95% CI, 26.4 to 27.6). Platinum-doublet receipt increased adjusted 1-year survival over single agents, from 19.4% (95% CI, 18.3 to 20.4) to 30.1% (95% CI, 28.9 to 31.4).


Most elderly patients with AdvNSCLC do not receive chemotherapy, yet there are clear survival benefits, even with controls for age, comorbidity, and PS. The benefit of platinum-based doublet regimens is greater than single-agent chemotherapy. Claims-based proxy indicators of poor PS were independent predictors of treatment and merit further exploration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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