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Dr. Tracey Evans on Treatment of Poor PS and Elderly Patients With Lung Cancer

Tracey L. Evans, MD
Published: Friday, Apr 03, 2015



Tracey L. Evans, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, discusses treatment of poor performance status (PS) and elderly patients with lung cancer.

Because of a bias that elderly patients with lung cancer would not benefit from chemotherapy, they are typically either denied the treatment or administered a single-agent chemotherapy, Evans explains. However, recent data show that physiological age is a more accurate factor for treatment versus chronological age. Therefore, elderly patients can benefit from platinum-based, doublet chemotherapy, which is used in younger patients. Although this treatment does have more toxicity, it has a survival benefit.

Patients with an ECOG PS of 3 or 4 are less likely to benefit and more likely to be harmed from chemotherapy. Patients with an ECOG PS of 2 also are known to have poor responses from chemotherapy. However, in a recent study comparing single-agent pemetrexed versus carboplatin pemetrexed, ECOG PS 2 patients had a significantly improved survival benefit for the doublet combination relative to the single agent.

Evans says though patients with this PS may respond well to the doublet chemotherapy, they may also experience more toxicity than patients with a higher PS.



Tracey L. Evans, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, discusses treatment of poor performance status (PS) and elderly patients with lung cancer.

Because of a bias that elderly patients with lung cancer would not benefit from chemotherapy, they are typically either denied the treatment or administered a single-agent chemotherapy, Evans explains. However, recent data show that physiological age is a more accurate factor for treatment versus chronological age. Therefore, elderly patients can benefit from platinum-based, doublet chemotherapy, which is used in younger patients. Although this treatment does have more toxicity, it has a survival benefit.

Patients with an ECOG PS of 3 or 4 are less likely to benefit and more likely to be harmed from chemotherapy. Patients with an ECOG PS of 2 also are known to have poor responses from chemotherapy. However, in a recent study comparing single-agent pemetrexed versus carboplatin pemetrexed, ECOG PS 2 patients had a significantly improved survival benefit for the doublet combination relative to the single agent.

Evans says though patients with this PS may respond well to the doublet chemotherapy, they may also experience more toxicity than patients with a higher PS.


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