Background: Cytoreductive surgery (CRS)/Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is associated with prolonged survival in selected patients with peritoneal surface disease. Yet, for elderly patients (older than 70 years of age) CRS/HIPEC is controversial, due to associated morbidity.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of a prospective database of 950 procedures was performed. Type of malignancy, demographics, performance and resection status, hospitalization, morbidity, mortality, and survival were reviewed.
Results: A total of 81 patients (median age 73, range 70-87) underwent CRS/HIPEC between 1991 and 2011. Median follow-up was 48.1 months. Complete cytoreduction was achieved in 44 %. Median survival was 31.8 months for appendiceal cancer, 41.5 for mesothelioma, 54.0 for ovarian cancer, 13.2 for colon cancer, and 7.6 for gastric cancer. The 30-day mortality was 13.6 %. The combined grade III and IV morbidity was 38 %. Median ICU and hospital stay for uncomplicated patients was 1 and 8 days, respectively. The 3-month mortality was 27.4 %. There were no deaths in the octogenarian group. In stepwise multivariate analysis, type of primary (p = 0.03), albumin (p = 0.02), and R status (p = 0.007) were predictive of survival only in the absence of complications. Splitting the data at the midpoint of surgical experience, there was a drop in 1- and 3-month mortality over time to 9.5 and 19.3 %, respectively, while the median survival increased from 11.2 (N = 39) to 46.9 months (N = 42).
Conclusions: HIPEC in the elderly is associated with a steep learning curve and considerable morbidity and mortality. However, age alone is not a contraindication for the procedure. Institutional experience and stringent patient selection are key factors for prolonged survival.