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Chemotherapy in the oldest old: Choices and outcomes

Inez Charlotte van Walree, Eline L G van Breukelen, Noortje Thielen, Marcel T M van Rens, Lieke H van Huis-Tanja, Marije E Hamaker
European Journal of Cancer Care 2019 April 29, : e13049
Treatment decision-making in older patients with cancer is difficult due to a paucity of data evaluating chemotherapy tolerability in this population. We investigated the feasibility of chemotherapy in the oldest old and performed a singl-centre retrospective analysis of patients aged ≥80 years initiating chemotherapy for one of five common solid malignancies or non-Hodgkin lymphoma between 2010 and 2016. Treatment plan and course were extracted from medical files. Primary outcome was whether chemotherapy was completed according to plan, defined as a calculated relative dose intensity (RDI) ≥85%. A total of 104 patients receiving 129 chemotherapy lines were included. Median age at diagnosis was 82 years (range 80-94 years). Most patients (64%) received palliative intent chemotherapy. Primary and secondary chemotherapy adaptations were implemented in 63% and 65% of the cases, and hospitalisation occurred in a quarter. 52% of all cases completed chemotherapy according to plan. Almost half of the chemotherapy regimens started in the oldest old were not completed according to plan, despite frequently implemented upfront adaptations. The decision to start chemotherapy in these patients should be carefully considered. To improve decision-making in current practice, there is a need for the implementation of validated tools assessing chemotherapy feasibility in these patients.


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