OBJECTIVES: The influence of age (<70 years and ≥70 years) was retrospectively studied on the quality of life (QoL), incidence of side effects (including skin reactions) and efficacy of chemotherapy plus cetuximab in patients with KRAS wild type (WT) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
METHODS: 225 patients of the Observed study (PS 0-1) were retrieved based on age (< 70 and ≥70 years) and evaluated through EORTC QLQ-C30 and DLQI questionnaires.
RESULTS: The two patient groups (141 < 70 and 84 ≥ 70 years, respectively) were balanced with no differences in any of the clinical and pathological characteristics considered. Both groups underwent similar type of first-line chemotherapy plus cetuximab, treatment duration and compliance. Cetuximab therapy caused similar incidence of side effects and impact on QoL in older and younger patients. No difference was observed in progression free survival (PFS) and in disease control rates between the two patient populations. Median overall survival (OS) was higher in patients <70 (27 months, 95% CI: 22.7-31.27) than in patients ≥70 (19 months, 95% CI: 14.65-23.35) (p = 0.002), which is likely due to higher proportions of metastatic resection (27.0% vs 8.3%; p = 0.001) and utilization of second-line therapy in younger group (58.9% vs 42.9%; p = 0.028).
CONCLUSION: The current data suggest that fit older patients with mCRC can be safely treated with a cetuximab-based therapy, as QoL and safety profile do not seem to be affected by age. In addition, age did not impact the choice of chemotherapy to be associated to cetuximab and treatment compliance.