Chemotherapy for elderly patients with advanced cancer: A pilot study in Institute of Oncology Bucharest

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Objectives: First objective was better understanding of the indications of chemotherapy in elderly with advanced cancer, tolerability and toxicity of chemotherapy in this age group. The second objective was to define current practice in chemotherapy for elderly people with advanced cancer for a selected group of patients treated in Institute of Oncology Bucharest (IOB). Materials and Methods: The study makes a clinical analysis of medical records of 27 patients from the archive of Institute of Oncology Bucharest treated by the same doctor. Patients were selected according to: age ≥ 65 years, ECOG performance status 0-1, normal blood counts and blood biochemistry, histological confirmation of the diagnosis of cancer, patients should received at least 3 cycles of chemotherapy. We extract characteristics of the patients to see if they were a homogeneous group of patients and to compare them with data from the literature. Overall survival was calculated by the Kaplan Meyer curve. Results: 295 patients more then 65 years were treated in our site in 2 years 2011, 2012. 93 patients received chemotherapy and only 27 patients were enrolled in this study following inclusion criteria. Common sites of cancer were lung and breast. The most used cytostatics for lung cancer was gemcitabine and carboplatine and cyclophosphamide, metotrexat and 5 fluorouracil for breast cancer. Toxicity was mild with the prevalence of hematologic toxicity. Overall survival without taking into account the type of cancer was 27.7 month. Conclusions: For selected patients, chemotherapy was well tolerated and appears to prolong survival regardless of the location of cancer. The relatively small number of elderly patients who received chemotherapy is probably due to lack of compliance to treatment, the increased number of co-morbidities and evaluation of performance status only by the ECOG index known not to be good enough to establish the indication of chemotherapy.

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