Impact of age on choice of chemotherapy and outcome in advanced colorectal cancer

Muhammad A. Khattak, Amanda R. Townsend, Carol Beeke, Christos S. Karapetis, Colin Luke, Rob Padbury, Guy Maddern, David Roder, Timothy J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Age is a major risk factor for development of sporadic colorectal cancer but elderly patients are underrepresented in clinical trials and are potentially offered chemotherapy less often. Methods: Data were obtained from South Australian Clinical Registry for advanced colorectal cancer between 1st February 2006 and 9th September 2010. Patients who received chemotherapy were analysed to assess the impact of single versus combination chemotherapy and to assess the outcome in two age cohorts, age <70 years and ≥70 years. Results: Out of a total of 1745 patients in the database during this time period, 951 (54.5%) received systemic chemotherapy. 286 (30%) received first line therapy (median age 74 years) with single agent fluoropyrimidine and 643 patients (68%) received first line combination chemotherapy (median age 64 years). The median overall survival of patients receiving first line combination chemotherapy was 23.9 months compared to 17.2 months for those who received single agent fluoropyrimidine (p < 0.001). Combination chemotherapy was given to 81% of patients aged <70 years compared to 53% of those ≥70 years. There was no significant difference in median overall survival of patients receiving chemotherapy by age cohort, 21.3 months for age <70 years and 21.1 months for age ≥70 years (p = 0.4). Conclusion: Treatment outcomes are comparable in both the elderly and younger patients. Patients who received initial combination chemotherapy were younger and had a longer median overall survival. In our study, age appeared to influence the treatment choices but not necessarily outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1298
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Chemotherapy
  • Colorectal
  • Elderly
  • Registry
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Khattak, M. A., Townsend, A. R., Beeke, C., Karapetis, C. S., Luke, C., Padbury, R., ... Price, T. J. (2012). Impact of age on choice of chemotherapy and outcome in advanced colorectal cancer. European Journal of Cancer, 48(9), 1293-1298.