Platinum-Based Chemotherapy in Older Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: What to Expect in the Real World

Giacomo Pelizzari, Francesco Cortiula, Marco Giavarra, Michele Bartoletti, Camilla Lisanti, Vanessa Buoro, Monica Cattaneo, Ciro Rossetto, Simona Rizzato, Fabio Puglisi, Marianna Macerelli, Gianpiero Fasola, Alessandro Follador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The role of platinum-based chemotherapy (PBC) for the treatment of older patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is still a matter of debate, despite the advent of immunotherapy. Objective: The aim of the study was to identify factors associated with first-line PBC prescription and, secondly, to evaluate the impact of first-line PBC on survival, treatment intensity, risk of hospitalization, and subsequent treatments. Patients and Methods: We reviewed a consecutive series of 474 older patients (age ≥ 70 years) diagnosed with stage IIIB–IV NSCLC at the Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Udine, Italy from January 2009 to March 2017. Results: Overall, 198 patients were deemed eligible, and 65.2% received a PBC. At multivariate analysis, older age was the only factor associated with PBC prescription. In the whole cohort, 46 patients (23.2%) were hospitalized for chemotherapy-related toxicity. Both PBC prescription (odds ratio [OR] 2.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–4.87, p = 0.04) and tumor burden (OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.07–5.32, p = 0.03) emerged as independent risk factors for hospitalization. Moving to significant predictors of patterns of care, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status > 0 was associated with greater risk of first-line failure (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.15–4.20, p = 0.02), while bone metastases (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.12–0.69, p = 0.005) and a Charlson Comorbidity Index score ≥ 3 (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19–0.84, p = 0.016) independently predicted lower probability of receiving second-line therapy. Remarkably, PBC did not significantly impact overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0.83, 95% CI 0.61–1.14, p = 0.24) and progression-free survival (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.70–1.28, p = 0.73) compared to single-agent chemotherapy (SAC). However, according to an exploratory landmark analysis, patients who received four cycles of treatment or maintenance therapy experienced prolonged overall survival, regardless of PBC use. Conclusions: This study evaluated the real-world use of PBC in older patients with NSCLC, offering an insight into the determinants of its prescription and the pattern of care of these patients. Of note, PBC use was associated with a higher likelihood of hospitalization for chemotherapy-related toxicity, with no benefit on survival compared to SAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-689
Number of pages13
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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