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Tuesday 01 November 2005

Topotecan in the treatment of elderly patients with relapsed small-cell lung cancer.

By: Garst J, Buller R, Lane S, Crawford J.

Clin Lung Cancer 2005 Nov;7(3):190-6

BACKGROUND: Almost 70% of all patients with lung cancer in the United States are>65 years of age, and the incidence of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) increases with age until the eighth decade of life. However, elderly patients are underrepresented in clinical trials and are often suboptimally treated. The validity of age as a prognostic factor for toxicity or survival remains controversial. PATIENTS AND METHODS: To investigate the safety and efficacy of topotecan (an approved treatment for relapsed SCLC) in older patients, we performed a retrospective analysis in patients >or= 65 years of age versus patients < 65 years of age from 5 large topotecan trials. In all 5 trials, patients received topotecan 1.5 mg/m2 per day via a 30-minute intravenous infusion on days 1 through 5 of a 21-day cycle. Efficacy and tolerability outcomes were assessed for both age groups. RESULTS: Topotecan was similarly tolerated in both age groups, with generally manageable hematologic toxicity. The incidence, duration, and onset of severe hematologic toxicities did not vary significantly with age. In the<65 age group, grade 4 neutropenia and leukopenia were reported in 72% and 32% of patients, respectively; in the >or= 65 age group, grade 4 neutropenia and leukopenia were reported in 77% and 31% of patients, respectively. Grade 4 thrombocytopenia was less common in the<65 age group. Nonhematologic toxicities, median time to progression, and overall survival were comparable between groups. CONCLUSION: This is the first demonstration of the safety and efficacy of topotecan in older patients with recurrent SCLC. Future studies are needed to fully characterize the role of topotecan in the treatment of older patients.

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