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Presse Med. 2011 Apr;40(4 Pt 1):420-6. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2011.02.008. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

[Metastatic non-small cell lung cancer: Systemic treatment of patients aged 70 and over].

[Article in French]

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Hôpitaux universitaires, service de pneumologie, 67091 Strasbourg cedex, France.


Patients aged 70 and over represent the third of the population of patients with lung cancer. There has been for a long time a certain nihilism regarding the treatment of elderly patients with advanced lung cancer as well from medical doctors but also from families and patients themselves with the false belief of an indolent course of the disease in elderly patients. As a result, clinical trials devoted to elderly patients were quite scarce until the end of the last decade. Nevertheless, an important trial was published in 1999 with the comparison of vinorelbine as a single agent versus best supportive care only in patients aged 70 and over with an advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The survival benefit with vinorelbine was important. Then two trials were published comparing monotherapy with either vinorelbine or gemcitabine to the doublet vinorelbine and gemcitabine without convincing results. As a consequence, the ASCO 2004 recommendations were to treat elderly patients with a monotherapy (gemcitabine or vinorelbine). Recently an IFCT trial was presented at the plenary session of the ASCO 2010. A carboplatin (every 4weeks)+weekly paclitaxel doublet was compared to a vinorelbine or gemcitabine (choice of the center). The survival benefit was of such magnitude that the paradigm of treatment of elderly patients PS 0-2 with advanced NSCLC should be modified in favor of the tested doublet. There should be a reappraisal of the geriatric indexes recommended by the oncogeriatricians regarding their exact prognostic or predictive role.

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