Outcome and toxicity of radical radiotherapy or concurrent Chemoradiotherapy for elderly cervical cancer women

Concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) is the standard treatment for local advanced cervical cancer. However, for elderly patients, studies are limited and the outcomes are controversial | BMC Cancer

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the elderly cervical cancer patients treated with radical RT or CCRT between January 2006 and December 2014. For external beam radiotherapy, 50Gy in 25 fractions or 50.4Gy in 28 fractions were delivered via 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy or intensity modulated radiation therapy. High-dose-rate intracavitary brachytherapy was performed with a dose of 30-36Gy in 5–7 fractions to point A. Concurrent chemotherapy regimens included weekly cisplatin and paclitaxel.

Conclusion: Elderly cervical cancer patients could tolerate radical RT and CCRT very well and get a favored survival. Compared with RT, CCRT could improve the survival of elder cervical cancer patients with similar nonhematological toxicity. CCRT should be considered in elderly cervical cancer patients.

Full reference: Wang, W. et al. (2017) Outcome and toxicity of radical radiotherapy or concurrent Chemoradiotherapy for elderly cervical cancer women. BMC Cancer 17:510

Patterns of care and predictors of adjuvant therapies in elderly patients with glioblastoma

Amsbaugh, M.J. et al. Cancer | Published online: 27 April 2017

Background: The objectives of this study were to characterize patterns of care and to identify predictors for adjuvant therapy in elderly patients with glioblastoma in the modern era.

Conclusions: In this analysis of elderly patients who had glioblastoma diagnosed from 2004 through 2012, a significant increase in the receipt of combined-modality therapy was observed. Combined-modality treatment produces improved survival outcomes and should be considered as adjuvant treatment for carefully selected elderly patients.

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One Hospital System’s Journey to Reduce Clostridium Difficile

Delaney, M.B. Journal of Emergency Nursing | Published online: 4 April 2017

a&e department

Problem: Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over again but expecting different results. Although the United States claims to reduce antibiotic abuse, practice strict isolation, and clean meticulously, the burden of Clostridium difficile outpaces goals. Unless innovative approaches are tried, we risk culling elderly, immunosuppressed, and otherwise debilitated populations. Emergency departments are a primary access point for patients who are unable to wait for primary care. As a result, many patients with diarrhea are seen in emergency departments.

Methods: This article describes one hospital system’s quality improvement trial of disposable commode pails (DCPs) for high-acuity patients in 3 of 5 institutions. The rationale was to prevent staff from touching surfaces heavily contaminated with C difficile. Staff members were not to wash or reuse commode buckets between patients. Instead, DCPs were substituted, and only the commode chairs were wiped. For quantitative date, C difficile infections (CDIs) were compared across hospitals. Staff members were surveyed for qualitative data.

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The impact of age on complications, survival, and cause of death following colon cancer surgery

Aquina, C.T. et al. (2017) British Journal of Cancer. 116, pp. 389-397


Image source: Lorna McInroy – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image shows cultured colon cancer cells showing the nuclei stained with DAPI in blue, the actin cytoskeleton in red and plectin (isoform 1k) in green.

Background: Given scarce data regarding the relationship among age, complications, and survival beyond the 30-day postoperative period for oncology patients in the United States, this study identified age-related differences in complications and the rate and cause of 1-year mortality following colon cancer surgery.

Conclusions: Older age and sepsis are associated with higher 1-year overall, cancer-specific, and cardiovascular-specific mortality, highlighting the importance of geriatric assessment, multidisciplinary care, and cardiovascular optimisation for older patients and those with infectious complications.

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Is upfront stereotactic radiosurgery a rational treatment option for very elderly patients with brain metastases?

Yomo, S & Hayashi, M. BMC Cancer. Published online: 15 December 2016

B0010355 Human brain cancer stem cells treated with graphene, SEM

Image source: Suffian, I. et al. – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Image shows false-coloured scanning electron micrograph of human cancer stem cells isolated from patients with brain cancer

Background: Advanced age has been shown to be a factor predicting poor survival in patients with brain metastases (BM). There have been only a few studies focusing on stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for elderly BM patients. The present study aimed to investigate the efficacy and limitations of SRS for very elderly BM patients.

Conclusions: The present study suggested an upfront SRS strategy to offer a feasible and effective treatment option for very elderly patients with limited BM. In the majority of patients, neurological death could be delayed or even prevented.

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Validation of a Prediction Tool for Chemotherapy Toxicity in Older Adults With Cancer

Hurria, A. et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology. July 10, 2016 vol. 34 no. 20 2366-2371

Purpose Older adults are at increased risk for chemotherapy toxicity, and standard oncology assessment measures cannot identify those at risk. A predictive model for chemotherapy toxicity was developed (N = 500) that consisted of geriatric assessment questions and other clinical variables. This study aims to externally validate this model in an independent cohort (N = 250).

Patients and Methods Patients age ≥ 65 years with a solid tumor, fluent in English, and who were scheduled to receive a new chemotherapy regimen were recruited from eight institutions. Risk of chemotherapy toxicity was calculated (low, medium, or high risk) on the basis of the prediction model before the start of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy-related toxicity was captured (grade 3 [hospitalization indicated], grade 4 [life threatening], and grade 5 [treatment-related death]). Validation of the prediction model was performed by calculating the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve.

Results The study sample (N = 250) had a mean age of 73 years (range, 65 to 94 [standard deviation, 5.8]). More than one half of patients (58%) experienced grade ≥ 3 toxicity. Risk of toxicity increased with increasing risk score (36.7% low, 62.4% medium, 70.2% high risk; P < .001). The area under the curve of the receiver-operating characteristic curve was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.58 to 0.71), which was not statistically different from the development cohort (0.72; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.77; P = .09). There was no association between Karnofsky Performance Status and chemotherapy toxicity (P = .25).

Conclusion This study externally validated a chemotherapy toxicity predictive model for older adults with cancer. This predictive model should be considered when discussing the risks and benefits of chemotherapy with older adults.

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Under-treatment of elderly patients with ovarian cancer: a population based study

Fourcadier et al. (2015) BMC Cancer 2015, 15:937 


Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in France, and mainly affects the elderly. The primary objective of this study was to compare treatment of ovarian cancer according to age.


All patients with invasive cancer (n = 1151) diagnosed between 1997 and 2011 in the Herault Department of southern France were included. Demographic data (age, area of residence), cancer characteristics (stage, histology, grade) and treatment modality (type, period and location of treatment) were analysed. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to compare treatment by age.


Ovarian cancer was less treated in elderly compared to younger patients, regardless of the type of treatment. This difference was more pronounced for chemotherapy, and was maximal for surgery followed by chemotherapy (odds ratio (OR) for surgery for patients aged >70 vs those aged <70 years = 0.47 [0.24–0.91], OR for chemotherapy, age >70 vs <70 = 0.30 [0.16–0.55] and OR for surgery plus chemotherapy, age >70 vs <70 = 0.14 [0.08–0.28]). This effect of age was independent of other variables, including stage and grade. The probability of receiving standard treatment, in accordance with recommendations, was reduced by 50 % in elderly patients compared to their younger counterparts. Overall and net survival of elderly patients with standard treatment was similar to those of younger patients treated outside standard treatment.

ovarian survival.png

10-year overall survival by age and treatment recommendation.Image source: biomedicalcentral.com


Elderly women with ovarian cancer were therapeutically disadvantaged compared to younger women. Further studies including co morbidities are necessary to refine these results and to improve therapeutic management of elderly patients with ovarian cancer.

Read the full article via BMC Cancer