Background: We evaluated the outcome of 140 patients aged > or = 70 years of age who received first-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer within the German phase III trial of FUFOX (5-fluorouracil/leucovorin/oxaliplatin) versus CAPOX (capecitabine/oxaliplatin).
Patients and methods: One hundred forty (30%) elderly patients of 476 total patients were identified, and 138 patients received the CAPOX or FUFOX treatment.
Results: Overall, treatment was well tolerated, and grade 3/4 toxicities were similar in both groups, with more gastrointestinal side effects in the elderly group but less neurosensory side effects. The response rate (RR) was comparable between both cohorts (49% in elderly patients vs. 52% in patients aged < 70 years). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 7.7 months for patients aged > or = 70 years and 7.5 months for patients aged < 70 years (hazard ratio [HR], 1.07; 95% CI, 0.86-1.34). With regard to the chemotherapy regimen, there was no inferiority between FUFOX and CAPOX in patients aged > or = 70 years (7.9 months vs. 7.6 months). The median overall survival (OS) between FUFOX and CAPOX was comparable in patients aged > or = 70 years (14.4 months vs. 14.2 months). However, when compared with patients aged < 70 years, the median OS was significantly shorter (18.8 months vs. 14.4 months; P = 0.013; HR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.07-1.76). This was consistent with our multivariate analysis, which revealed that age > or = 70 years was a negative factor for OS.
Conclusion: Oxaliplatin combined with 5-FU/leucovorin or capecitabine was generally well tolerated in elderly patients. Elderly patients had similar PFS and overall RRs compared with the population aged < 70 years, but the OS was shorter.