The effect of age and comorbidity on patient-centered health outcomes in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer

J Geriatr Oncol. 2013 Apr;4(2):99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2012.12.004. Epub 2013 Jan 12.


Objectives: While the impact of age, comorbidity and receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy on survival are known, less is known about their effect on patient-centered outcomes including living situation and unplanned health care services. The current study describes the impact of age and comorbidity on patient-centered outcomes in patients with colon cancer.

Materials and methods: Patients with resected stage III colon cancer and high risk stage II colon cancer were identified from a colorectal cancer center database. Using data collected from chart abstraction, we describe unplanned health care utilization and trajectories of living situation (use of home health, skilled nursing facility, etc.) among high-risk stage II and III colon cancer patients with regard to age categories and receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy.

Results: Among 126 eligible patients, 66% received adjuvant chemotherapy and 34% did not. Older patients receiving chemotherapy were more likely to be living independently (81%) compared to those older patients who did not receive chemotherapy (63%). Older patients receiving chemotherapy were less likely to be started on an oxaliplatin-containing regimen compared to younger patients (54% vs. 81%, p=0.02). On multivariate analysis, both diabetes mellitus (OR 3.70 [95% CI 1.3-10.2]) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR 4.26 [95% CI 1.1-16.0]) were significantly associated with unplanned health care service use.

Conclusion: Medical oncologists appear to factor clinical and sociodemographic variables when making recommendations for adjuvant chemotherapy. Older patients deemed eligible for chemotherapy did not experience significant changes in living situation. Among patients with colon cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, diabetes mellitus and COPD are associated with emergency visits and hospital admissions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology