PURPOSE: To assess solid cancer treatment feasibility in older patients.
METHODS: Between 2007 and 2010, 385 consecutive elderly patients (mean age: 78.9 ± 5.4 years; 47.8% males) with solid malignancies referred to two geriatric oncology clinics were included prospectively. We recorded feasibility of first-line chemotherapy (planned number of cycles in patients without metastases and three to six cycles depending on tumor site in patients with metastases), surgery (patient alive 30 days after successfully performed planned surgical procedure), radiotherapy (planned dose delivered), and hormonal therapy (planned drug dose given), and we recorded overall 1-year survival.
RESULTS: Main tumor sites were colorectal (28.6%), breast (23.1%), and prostate (10.9%), and 47% of patients had metastases. Planned cancer treatment was feasible in 65.7% of patients with metastases; this proportion was 59.0% for chemotherapy, 82.6% for surgery, 100% for radiotherapy, and 85.2% for hormonal therapy. In the group without metastases, feasibility proportions were 86.8% overall, 72.4% for chemotherapy, 95.7% for surgery, 96.4% for radiotherapy, and 97.9% for hormonal therapy. Factors independently associated with chemotherapy feasibility were good functional status defined as Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status <2 (p < .0001) or activities of daily living >5 (p = .01), normal mobility defined as no difficulty walking (p = .01) or no fall risk (p = .007), and higher creatinine clearance (p = .04).
CONCLUSION: Feasibility rates were considerably lower for chemotherapy than for surgery, radiotherapy, and hormonal therapy. Therefore, utilization of limited geriatric oncology resources may be optimized by preferential referral of elderly cancer patients initially considered for chemotherapy to geriatric oncology clinics.