Management of small-cell lung cancer in the elderly

C. Gridelli, R. De Vivo, S. Monfardini

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More than 50% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed over the age of 65 and about 30% over 70. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for 20-25% of lung carcinomas. Chemotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for SCLC. Usually in the elderly it is difficult to administer the same chemotherapy administered to younger patients because elderly patients tolerate chemotherapy poorly. The empirical reduction of drug doses may be criticized. The best approach is to design specific trials in order to develop active and well-tolerated chemotherapy regimens for SCLC elderly patients. The standard therapy in limited disease is combined chemo-radiotherapy followed by prophylactic brain irradiation for patients achieving a complete response. In the elderly, the addition of radiotherapy to chemotherapy must be accurately evaluated, considering the slight survival improvement and the potential relevant toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Chemotherapy
  • Elderly
  • G-STEP
  • SCLC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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