Ethical considerations in conducting clinical trials for elderly cancer patients
Author: Surbone, Antonella
Source: Aging Health, 1 June 2008, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 253-260(8)
Abstract:Under-representation of the elderly in clinical trials leads to inadequate information on the effect of age with regard to new anticancer treatments. The exclusion of elderly patients from cancer experimentation, often due to limiting medical or psychosocial factors, appears to also stem from misconceptions about aging and frailty. Limited data on elderly cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials suggest that age itself, in the absence of severe concomitant illnesses or psychological, cognitive or functional impairment, is not an independent risk factor for either increased toxicity or lack of treatment efficacy. Prospective benefits of inclusion of the elderly in clinical trials must be weighed against exposing individual patients to potential risks. The medical, ethical and methodological implications of experimentation in the elderly need to be studied in depth. This article reviews ethical issues in cancer clinical trials, focusing on aspects that may deserve special attention when elderly patients are enrolled.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Medicine, New York University, 530 First Avenue, NY 10016, USA., Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: June 1, 2008