Deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy for elderly patients with stage III colon cancer: A qualitative insight into the perspectives of surgeons and medical oncologists

FN van Erning, ML Janssen-Heijnen, GJM Creemers, HFM Pruijt, HAAM Maas, Valery Lemmens

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Objective: The aim of this study is to identify doctor-related factors determining the decision-making for adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with stage III colon cancer aged >= 75 years. Materials and Methods: 21 surgeons and 15 medical oncologists from 10 community hospitals were asked to complete a short questionnaire including tick-box questions regarding motives for non-referral/non-treatment, consultation of geriatricians, chemotherapy schemes prescribed and an open question regarding tolerability of chemotherapy. Results: 29 medical specialists returned a completed questionnaire (response 81%). The motives for non-referral/non-treatment reported most often were comorbidity/bad general health condition of the patient; surgical complications; and treatment offered but refused by patient/family. 39% of the surgeons and 55% of the medical oncologists reported consultation of a geriatrician in 2-30% of their decisions. CAPOX and capecitabine were reported by medical oncologists as the most frequently prescribed regimens. Factors that influenced the decision for monotherapy or combination therapy were comorbidity; general health condition of the patient; and toxicity profile of the chemotherapeutics. In general, medical oncologists defined grade <= 2 toxicities as tolerable, with the exception of neuropathy, for which grade <= 1 toxicity was accepted. Conclusions: In case medical oncologists prescribe adjuvant chemotherapy to elderly patients with stage III colon cancer, the chemotherapy schemes used are in line with clinical guidelines and they agree on acceptable levels of toxicity. However, the variation among surgeons and medical oncologists in motives for non-referral, non-treatment and consultation of geriatricians when deciding on adjuvant chemotherapy for elderly patients with stage III colon cancer, shows the complexity and need for specific knowledge. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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  • EMC NIHES-02-65-02

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