Several factors influence completion of chemotherapy in elderly patients with stage-III colon cancer

Research Activities, September 2012, No. 385

Colon cancer is predominantly a disease of those 65 years and older. For patients with stage-III colon cancer, adjuvant chemotherapy following surgery can reduce cancer recurrence and mortality. A new study found better chemotherapy completion rates among the elderly with this condition than in earlier years, with age the most important predictor of initiation and completion of therapy. The study included data on 12,265 patients with stage-III colon cancer who were 65 years of age and older. All were diagnosed between 1991 and 2005. Medicare claims were analyzed to determine if and when chemotherapy was initiated and for how long.

Overall, 64.4 percent of patients received chemotherapy within 3 months following surgery. Factors associated with being more likely to receive chemotherapy included being male, white, younger, and married. Younger patients were also more likely to start chemotherapy in a shorter period of time after surgery. Factors associated with completing a full course of chemotherapy included being younger, male, black, and married. Those patients who were older, female, and white were more likely to discontinue chemotherapy than others. Compared to patients diagnosed from 1991–1993, those diagnosed after 1997 were nearly two times more likely to complete chemotherapy. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16743).

See "Assessing the initiation and completion of adjuvant chemotherapy in a large nationwide and population-based cohort of elderly patients with stage-III colon cancer," by Chung-Yuan Hu, Ph.D., George L. Delclos, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Wenyaw Chan, Ph.D., and Xianglin L. Du, M.B., M.S., Ph.D., in Medical Oncology 28, pp. 1062-1074, 2011.

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Current as of September 2012
Internet Citation: Several factors influence completion of chemotherapy in elderly patients with stage-III colon cancer: Research Activities, September 2012, No. 385. September 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/sept12/12-RA012.html