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Elderly Benefit From Dual Lung Cancer Therapy

Radiotherapy plus chemotherapy is valid option, study finds

MONDAY, April 25, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's age isn't a limiting factor for combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer, says a study in the June 1 issue of the journal Cancer.

The study concluded that elderly lung cancer patients treated with this combination therapy have no higher risk of death than younger patients. Two- and five-year survival rates and disease progression rates for patients 70 and older were not significantly different than those for patients younger than 70.

At five years, 17 percent of patients 70 older were still alive, compared to 22 percent of younger patients. Both age groups had similar levels of overall toxicity but specific and moderate toxicities were more common in the elderly patients.

The study, led by Dr. Steven E. Schild of the Mayo Clinic, found that six percent of the elderly patients suffered severe pneumonia requiring ventilation or continuous oxygen, compared to none of the younger patients.

The authors concluded that "fit elderly patients with locally advanced limited stage small cell lung cancer should be encouraged to receive combined modality therapy, preferably on clinical trials."

Studies have found chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy improves lung cancer survival over chemotherapy alone, the researchers said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about lung cancer treatments.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., news release, April 25, 2005,
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