In a study of patients 65 and older with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), younger patients were more likely to receive treatment than older patients, regardless of overall health and prognosis.
The study of more than 20,000 patients, led by a team of physicians at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) and UCSF, found that, for all stages of cancer, treatment rates decreased more in association with advancing age than with the worsening of other illnesses.
Patients between the ages of 65 to 74 who were severely ill from other illnesses, and thus less likely to benefit and more likely to be harmed from cancer treatment, received treatment at roughly the same rate as patients in the same age range with no comorbidities. They were more likely to receive treatment than patients between 75 and 84 with no comorbidities and much better prognoses.
“It’s clear that as human beings and physicians, we fixate on age in deciding whether to pursue cancer treatments, including lung cancer treatments,” said lead author Sunny Wang, MD, an SFVAMC physician and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCSF. “Instead, we should be looking at our patients’ overall state of health.”
The study was based on an analysis of the electronic health records of 20,511 patients age 65 and older who were in the VA Central Cancer Registry from 2003 to 2008. It was published on May 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer. The authors cited previous research indicating that older NSCLC patients who are otherwise healthy can benefit from treatment, while those with comorbidities are more vulnerable to the toxicity of cancer treatments and less likely to complete a course of treatment. Significant comorbidity can also limit life expectancy, thus undermining the potential survival benefit of treatment.
“The message here is, don’t base cancer treatment strictly on age,” said Wang. “Don’t write off an otherwise healthy 75 year old, and don’t automatically decide to treat a really ill 65 year old without carefully assessing the risks and benefits for that patient.”
Currently, Wang and her fellow researchers are conducting a follow-up study looking at survival outcomes among the same cohort of patients.
Co-authors of the study are Melisa L. Wong, MD, of UCSF; Nathan Hamilton and J. Ben Davoren, MD, PhD, of SFVAMC and UCSF; Thierry M. Jahan, MD, of UCSF; and Louise C. Walter, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF.
The study was supported by funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs, UCSF, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Some of the funds were administered by the Northern California Institute for Research and Education.
NCIRE - The Veterans Health Research Institute - is the largest research institute associated with a VA medical center. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of veterans and the general public by supporting a world-class biomedical research program conducted by the UCSF faculty at SFVAMC.
SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.
Steve Tokar | EurekAlert!
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News