Effect of comorbidity on the treatment and prognosis of elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer

Janssen-Heijnen, M. L. G.; Smulders, S.; Lemmens, V. E. P. P.; Smeenk, F. W. J. M.; van Geffen, H. J. A. A.; Coebergh, J. W. W.
July 2004
Thorax;Jul2004, Vol. 59 Issue 7, p602
Academic Journal
Background: With the rising mean age, more patients will be diagnosed with one or more other serious diseases at the time of lung cancer diagnosis. Little is known about the best way to treat elderly patients with comorbidity or the outcome of treatment. This study was undertaken to evaluate the independent effects of age and comorbidity on treatment and prognosis in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods: All patients with NSCLC diagnosed between 1995 and 1999 in the southern part of the Netherlands (n = 4072) were included. Results: The proportion of patients with locolised NSCLC who underwent surgery was 92% in patients younger than 60 years and 9% in those aged 80 years or older. In patients aged 60-79 years this proportion also decreased with comorbidity. In patients with non-localised NSCLC the proportion receiving chemotherapy was considerably higher for those aged less than 60 years (24%) than in those aged 80 or older (2%). The number of comorbid conditions had no significant influence on the treatment chosen for patients with non-localised disease. Multivariable survival analyses showed that age, tumour size, and treatment were independent prognostic factors for patients with localised disease, and stage of disease and treatment for those with non-localised disease. Comorbidity had no independent prognostic effect. Conclusions: It is questionable whether the less aggressive treatment of elderly patients with NSCLC is justified.


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