Palliative treatment for elderly patients with colon cancer in ten Italian medical oncology units

Lara Maria Pasetto, Cristina Falci, Elisa Rizzo, Gian Luca De Salvo, Giampietro Gasparini, Mario D'Andrea, Emilio Bajetta, Marco Platania, Oscar Alabiso, Stefania Miraglia, Francesco Oniga, Rita Biason, Maria Concetta Chetrì, Palma Fedele, Giovanna Massara, Incoronata Romaniello, Monica Giordano, Giovanna Luchena, Franco Buzzi, Riccardo RicottaSalvatore Siena, Silvio Monfardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Palliative chemotherapy significantly reduces mortality in patients with stage TV colon cancer, but is less prescribed with rising age. In this paper, we highlight the pattern of palliative treatment and possible effects on survival among elderly patients. Patients and Methods: From January to December 2004, 78 files on the management of stage TV colorectal cancer (CRC) patients over 70 years, collected from 10 Italian Centres, were retrospectively examined. Determinants of receipt of palliative chemotherapy and their relation to toxicity and survival were considered. Results: The proportion of elderly patients receiving first-line palliative chemotherapy was 98.7% and it was evaluated according to age, gender, educational level and comorbidities; patients receiving second-line therapy comprised 47.4%, those receiving third-line therapy 14.1% and those treated with a fourth-line therapy totalled 2.6%. Forty-one percent of patients received best supportive care (BSC) alone. Conclusion: In Italy, a proportion of elderly patients with metastatic chemonaive CRC are usually treated with a tolerability and overall survival similar to those for the younger population. Among progressive patients after second-line therapy, 45.8% usually undergo third line therapy; the remaining 54.2% undergo BSC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1820
Number of pages8
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number3 B
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Colon cancer
  • Elderly
  • Palliative chemotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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    Pasetto, L. M., Falci, C., Rizzo, E., De Salvo, G. L., Gasparini, G., D'Andrea, M., Bajetta, E., Platania, M., Alabiso, O., Miraglia, S., Oniga, F., Biason, R., Chetrì, M. C., Fedele, P., Massara, G., Romaniello, I., Giordano, M., Luchena, G., Buzzi, F., ... Monfardini, S. (2008). Palliative treatment for elderly patients with colon cancer in ten Italian medical oncology units. Anticancer Research, 28(3 B), 1813-1820.