Oral single-agent chemotherapy in older patients with solid tumours: A position paper from the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) Review uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Medication Adherence
  • Neoplasms
  • Patient Preference


  • Compared with intravenous (i.v.) chemotherapy, oral administration is convenient, requires fewer healthcare resources, is generally preferred by patients, and may be appropriate in older people with breast, colorectal and lung cancers. The effects of organ dysfunction on drug metabolism and drug interactions in patients with multiple comorbidities must be considered but are not specific to oral chemotherapy. Single-agent oral chemotherapy with capecitabine or vinorelbine is active in older patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Choice of treatment is based mainly on different safety profiles. In the adjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC), single-agent oral capecitabine is an effective alternative to i.v. fluorouracil (5-FU) regimens. In metastatic CRC, oral, single-agent capecitabine has recently shown encouraging median overall survival in combination with bevacizumab. In non-small cell lung cancer, fit older patients, like their younger counterparts, benefit from platinum-based doublets, with carboplatin preferred to cisplatin. Single agent vinorelbine is an option for those less suited to combination chemotherapy, and oral may be an alternative to i.v. administration. For elderly cancer patients in general, metronomic chemotherapy combines good tolerability with acceptable activity.

publication date

  • November 2015



  • Review



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ejca.2015.08.005

PubMed ID

  • 26340809

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2491

end page

  • 500


  • 51


  • 17