The place of targeted agents in the treatment of elderly patients with metastatic colorectal cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2015 Mar 13;7(1):439-49. doi: 10.3390/cancers7010439.


Despite the high prevalence of colorectal cancer in a continuously aging population and the substantial advances in the treatment of metastatic disease during the past decade, the treatment of elderly patients with advanced, unresectable or metastatic colorectal cancer is a clearly unmet need. Since older patients are under-represented or even excluded from randomized trials, the evidence that oncologists use as guidance is weak. However, small prospective studies, pooled analyses and observational studies show that combination approaches are safe, efficacious and feasible in the geriatric population with metastatic colorectal cancer. The use of biologic agents targeting angiogenesis and the epidermal growth factor receptor, which have been shown to clearly improve outcomes in multiple prospective trials in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, is a vital component of the aforementioned combination approaches. Herein, we review all available data concerning the management of elderly patients with these agents and underscore the differences between this age subgroup and younger patients.

Publication types

  • Review