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Treatment decision-making in elderly women with ovarian cancer: an age-based comparison


Objective To investigate treatment choices and outcomes in women with ovarian cancer, comparing elderly (≥75 years) and younger patients (<75 years).

Methods A single-center retrospective analysis of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 2010 and 2015. The initial treatment plan and course of treatment were extracted from medical files.

Results Of 128 included patients, 34% were aged ≥75 years. The initial treatment plan consisted of the combination of cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based doublet chemotherapy (ie, standard treatment) in only 10% of the elderly patients with an indication for this treatment. 5% of these patients completed this treatment without adaptations (compared with 85% and 48%, respectively, in younger patients). 38% of the elderly patients with an indication for cytoreductive surgery and chemotherapy received best supportive care only. Patient preference was an important reason to withhold standard treatment. Surgery- and chemotherapy-related complications and hospital admissions did not differ between groups. Median survival was lower in the elderly (p=0.002) and in patients receiving best supportive care (p<0.001).

Conclusions Elderly patients were less frequently treated in accordance with the treatment guideline. To select those older patients who may benefit from (adapted) treatment is challenging. Future studies should evaluate determinants associated with treatment completion to improve outcomes in this vulnerable population.

  • elderly
  • ovarian cancer
  • treatment decisions
  • course of treatment

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