Quality-of-life in elderly patients with cancer: a short review

Eur J Cancer. 2007 Oct;43(15):2203-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.06.001. Epub 2007 Jul 26.


Background: Prolongation of survival and maintenance or improvement of health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) are the two important goals within the treatment of individual patients. Due to the severity of symptoms and the toxicity of treatment, HRQoL has become a major area of concern when treating cancer patients in general and elderly patients in particular.

Patients and methods: We present a literature review of HRQoL aspects in elderly patients with cancer and especially address the topic whether impairments in the different tools of a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) are associated with decreased HRQoL in elderly cancer patients.

Results: Elderly cancer patients tend to weight their HRQoL as more important than gain in survival, when compared to younger patients. An age-dependent decrease in different scales of HRQoL is reported in patients and normative samples. HRQoL is also a predictor of survival. The variation of HRQoL can be used in trials comparing different treatment options. In individual patients, regular measurement of HRQoL aims to improve patients-centred care. Age related impairments of different areas of CGA are associated with decreased HRQoL in elderly cancer patients.

Conclusions: HRQoL is an important outcome with elderly cancer patients and should be assessed regularly and thoroughly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Survivors