The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of radiotherapy in terms of feasibility and activity in the patients aged ≥75 with advanced rectal cancer. From January 2002 to December 2006, 41 consecutive patients (27 men and 14 women) aged ≥75 received radiotherapy for local advanced rectal cancer, 9 in a pre-operative and 22 in a post-operative setting. Sixteen patients received concomitant chemotherapy. Variables considered were age, co-morbidities, evaluated according to the adult co-morbidity evaluation index (ACE-27), surgery versus no surgery, and timing of radiotherapy. The median age was 80.5 years (range 75-90). A total of 19.5% of the patients had no co-morbidity, 48.8% mild, 17.1% moderate, and 14.6% had severe co-morbidities. Thirty-nine subjects (95.1%) were submitted to surgery. All patients but one completed the planned radiation schedule. At a median follow-up of 23.1 months, the 2- and 4-year overall survival rates were 71.8% and 61.6%, respectively. There was a better survival for patients with no or mild co-morbidities (p = 0.002) and a good performance status (p = 0.003). The cancer-free survival at 2 and 4 years was 78.9% and 26.4%, respectively. No difference in acute and late toxicity rates was found between patients with different ACE-27 indexes. We conclude that compliance with radiotherapy is good and rate of toxicity is acceptable in elderly patients. Patients with no or mild co-morbidities have a significantly better survival. Increasing severity of co-morbidity may sufficiently shorten remaining life expectancy to cancel gains with adjuvant radiotherapy. Further prospective trials are needed to confirm these results.
- Co-morbidities with rectal cancer
- Elderly patients
- Radiotherapy of rectal cancer
- Rectal cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Health(social science)