Background: Clinical trials indicate that the benefit of adding concurrent chemotherapy to radiotherapy of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for fit elderly is similar to the benefit for younger patients. However, since elderly patients are under-represented in most trials, the results might be due to selection bias, thus reports from a cohort of consecutively treated patients are warranted. The current single institution study reports on the influence of age on survival of locally advanced NSCLC patients treated with radiotherapy combined with or without concurrent chemotherapy.
Material and methods: Altogether, 478 patients completed radical radiotherapy in doses of 60-66 Gy/30-33 fractions from 1995 to June 2012; 137 of the patients had concurrent chemotherapy. The data was analyzed in age groups<60, 60-69, and ≥70 years.
Results: In the analyses of overall and lung cancer specific survival the hazard ratio was related to the use of concurrent chemotherapy was 0.49 (95% CI 0.29; 0.82), 0.68 (95% CI 0.48; 0.98) and 1.01 (95% CI 0.67; 1.51) for the age groups<60, 60-69, and ≥70, respectively.
Conclusion: Use of concurrent chemotherapy to radiotherapy of locally advanced NSCLC was associated with a survival benefit in patient younger than 70 years which was not the case for patients older than 70 years, indicating the need to be careful when selecting elderly patients for concurrent chemo-radiation.