Chemotherapy in the elderly

Author: Lichtman, Stuart M

Source: Aging Health, 1 April 2007, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 165-175(11)


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People over the age of 65¬†years constitute the fastest-growing segment of the US population. Within the next 30¬†years, this group will comprise over 20% of the total population. Importantly, 50% of all cancers and 70% of cancer mortality occur in this age group. Choosing the correct chemotherapy regimen and dose for the older patient can be extremely difficult due to physiological changes that occur with aging, as well as other comorbidities associated with this age group. Treatment decisions need to be based on a patient’s individual performance, functional status, life expectancy, and their wishes and opinions. Although there are no accepted algorithms to guide management decisions in elderly cancer patients, data are becoming available that will help guide the use of chemotherapy in the older patient population.

Keywords: aging; assessment; cancer; chemotherapy; clinical trials; comorbidity; elderly; frailty; function; pharmacokinetics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 650 Commack Road, Commack, New York, NY, USA., Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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