Tolerance and Efficacy of Gemcitabine and Gemcitabine-Based Regimens in Elderly Patients With Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

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Objectives:Gemcitabine is the backbone therapy of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Its tolerability and efficacy remain poorly studied in elderly.Methods:We selected patients coming from phase 2 and 3 studies, conducted between January 2001 and December 2004 in our department, evaluating gemcitabine-based first-line chemotherapy. We evaluated the treatment efficacy, tolerability, and compared patients younger than 70 years (group A) and aged 70 years and older (group B). We assessed the contribution of patient-, tumor- and treatment-related variables on the prognostic of patients aged 70 years and older.Results:Ninety-nine patients were studied: groups A (n = 57) and B (n = 42) treated by gemcitabine alone (n = 61) and gemcitabine-based combination (n = 38). Tumor growth control (66.6% vs 59.6%), time to progression (119 vs 104 days), and overall survival (240 vs 220 days) were comparable for groups A and B, respectively. For patients (n = 47) receiving a second-line chemotherapy (group A, n = 33; group B, n = 14), the efficacy and toxicity were similar in both group. Baseline alanine aminotransferase and Karnofski performance status were independent negative prognostic factors for elderly patients.Conclusions:Our study suggests that elderly patients undergoing gemcitabine do as well than younger patients.

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