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Comorbidities Associated with Poor Lung Cancer Survival

Age less likely to influence survival in study of patients receiving chemotherapy

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of chronic medical conditions but not older age is associated with poorer survival in patients receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer, according to a study in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Timothy R. Asmis, M.D., and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, examined whether age and comorbidity predicted outcomes in 1,255 patients enrolled in randomized controlled trials of systemic chemotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer. The Charlson comorbidity index score (CCIS) was used to score baseline comorbid conditions.

The researchers found that 34 percent of patients were elderly (65 years or older), 31 percent had comorbidities at baseline, and 31 percent of patients had a CCIS of 1 or greater. Patients were significantly more likely to have a CCIS of 1 or greater if they were elderly (42 versus 26 percent) or male (35 versus 21 percent). Overall survival was not associated with age but was associated with CCIS (hazard ratio 1.28 for a score of 1 versus 0).

"In these large, randomized trials, the presence of comorbid conditions (CCIS of 1 or greater), rather than age more than 65 years, was associated with poorer survival," Asmis and colleagues conclude.

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