Has lung cancer in the elderly different characteristics at presentation?

Maurizio Montella, Cesare Gridelli, Anna Crispo, Francesco Scognamiglio, Pasquale Ruffolo, Tindaro Gatani, Vincenzo Boccia, Paolo Maione, Gabriella Fabbrocini

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Lung cancer is the first cause of cancer death for males aged > or =35 years, and the second for females aged between 35 and 70 years. Elderly patients seem to have the worst performance status (PS) and earlier stage of disease at diagnosis. We analyzed data concerning 1,035 patients with lung cancer referred to the National Cancer Institute of Naples. The variables considered in the analysis were: gender; type of cancer [small cell lung cancer (SCLC), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)]; ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) PS, the stage of disease at diagnosis, the histological type, age at diagnosis. In order to better assess the relevance of age at diagnosis in lung cancer patients we categorized the age into two groups (young <or =70; old >70 years). The statistical analyses were performed using chi2 trend test with corresponding p-value and odds ratios (OR) for the examined variables, with a corresponding 95% confidence interval. These were derived using multiple logistic regression, fitted by the maximum likelihood method. For all the 1035 patients the risk between the age at diagnosis and the performance status was not statistically significant (OR=1.1, 95%CI 0.8-1.5). We repeated the same risk distinguishing the histological type and we analyzed the performance status for the SCLC (OR=1.0, 95%CI 0.4-2.5) and the stage at diagnosis (OR=1.0, 95%CI 0.4-3.0), without any significant difference. Our study showed that elderly patients with lung cancer do not seem to have different characteristics at presentation, particularly related to stage of disease, PS and histology, as compared to their younger counterpart. Other characteristics such as type and number of co-morbidities and organ function differ in the two groups of populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1096
Number of pages4
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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