Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of co-morbidity on the treatment and prognosis of elderly patients with colorectal cancer. Methods: The independent influence of age and co-morbidity on treatment and survival was analysed for 6931 patients with colorectal cancer aged 50 years or more diagnosed between 1995 and 2001 in the southern part of the Netherlands. Results: Co-morbidity had no influence on resection rate. The use of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with stage III colonic cancer was influenced by co-morbidity, especially a previous malignancy (odds ratio (OR) 0-2 (95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 0.1 to 0.6); P = 0.002) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (OR 0.3 (95 per cent c.i. 0.1 to 0.9); P = 0.043). Co-morbidity also influenced use of adjuvant radiotherapy in patients with rectal cancer, especially the presence of hypertension in combination with diabetes (OR 0.5 (95 per cent c.i. 0.2 to 0.9); P = 0.031). Co-morbidity influenced survival (hazard ratio up to 1.6), when adjusted for age, sex, tumour stage and treatment. The greatest influence on survival of patients with colonic cancer was previous malignancy, cardiovascular disease and COPD, and that of patients with rectal cancer was COPD, hypertension, and hypertension in combination with diabetes. Conclusion: Elderly patients with co-morbidity were treated less aggressively and had a worse survival than those with no concomitant disease. Copyright,
British Journal of Surgery
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lemmens, V.E.P.P, Janssen-Heijnen, M.L.G, Verheij, C.D.G.W, Houterman, S, Repelaer Van Driel, O.J, & Coebergh, J.W.W. (2005). Co-morbidity leads to altered treatment and worse survival of elderly patients with colorectal cancer. British Journal of Surgery, 92(5), 615–623. doi:10.1002/bjs.4913