Doublet chemotherapy in the elderly patient with ovarian cancer
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial
The aging of the population has focused on the need to evaluate older patients with cancer. Approximately 50% of patients with ovarian cancer will be older than age 65 years. Increasing age has been associated with decreased survival. It is uncertain whether this relates to biologic factors, treatment factors, or both. There is concern that undertreatment may be associated with decreased survival. Older patients with ovarian cancer have been underrepresented in clinical trials. Therefore, the evidence base on which make decisions is lacking. Clinicians need to be aware of the currently available data to aid in treatment decisions. Doublet therapy is the most common standard treatment in epithelial ovarian cancer. It usually consists of a taxane and a platinum compound. A series of cooperative group studies in both the United States and Europe established intravenous paclitaxel and carboplatin as the most common standard in optimally debulked patients. The recent introduction of intraperitoneal therapy has complicated decision making in terms of which older patients would benefit from this more toxic therapy. In relapsed patients, the issue of platinum sensitivity is critical in deciding whether to reutilize platinum compounds. It is unclear whether single agents or combinations are superior, particularly in older patients. Geriatric assessment is an important component of decision making. Prospective studies are needed to develop strategies to determine the optimal treatment for older patients with ovarian cancer.