Despite an aging population and underrepresentation of elderly patients in clinical trials, studies on elderly patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer are scarce. This study investigated the use of chemotherapy and survival in elderly patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. From the Netherlands Cancer Registry, all 9407 patients diagnosed with primary metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma in 2005–2013 were selected to investigate chemotherapy use and overall survival (OS), using Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazard regression analyses. Over time, chemotherapy use increased in all age groups (<70 years: from 26 to 43%, 70–74 years: 14 to 25%, 75–79 years: 5 to 13%, all P < 0.001, and ≥80 years: 2 to 3% P = 0.56). Median age of 2,180 patients who received chemotherapy was 63 years (range 21–86 years, 1.6% was ≥80 years). In chemotherapy-treated patients, with rising age (<70, 70–74, 75–79, ≥80 years), microscopic tumor verification occurred less frequently (91-88-87-77%, respectively, P = 0.009) and OS diminished (median 25-26-19-16 weeks, P = 0.003). After adjustment for confounding factors, worse survival of treated patients ≥75 years persisted. Despite limited chemotherapy use in elderly age, suggestive of strong selection, elderly patients (≥75 years) who received chemotherapy for metastatic pancreatic cancer exhibited a worse survival compared to younger patients receiving chemotherapy.

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Cancer Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van der Geest, L. G. M., Haj Mohammad, N., Besselink, M., Lemmens, V., Portielje, J., van Laarhoven, H., & Wilmink, J. (2017). Nationwide trends in chemotherapy use and survival of elderly patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Cancer Medicine, 6(12), 2840–2849. doi:10.1002/cam4.1240