EORTC Cancer in the Elderly Task Force investigates appropriate treatment for elderly patients

November 25, 2013

As we age, we experience a progressive decline in many of our bodily functions. This decline can vary greatly from individual to individual. One 75 year old might still be very active and participate in strenuous physical activities, while another might require considerable assistance just to perform simple everyday tasks. Aging is variable. It is a highly individualized process that is influenced by a number of genetic, developmental, and environmental factors.

Many things, not simply chronological age, contribute to treatment tolerance and outcome in older patients with cancer, and these present challenges when determining appropriate treatment. Recently, though, members of the EORTC Cancer in the Elderly Task Force, in a paper published in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology, evaluated the physiological reserves of elderly patients with cancer and described the most relevant biomarkers that might potentially serve to indicate their functional biological age.

Dr. Hans Wildiers of the University Hospitals Leuven, Chair of the Cancer in the Elderly Task Force, and co-author of this study, says, "The incidence of most malignant diseases increases with age. Studies have shown that slightly more than half of all newly diagnosed cancer cases and more than two thirds of cancer-related deaths occur in patients 65 years or older. So, we expect the number of older patients with cancer will increase as the population ages. Doctors will increasingly need to make treatment decisions for older patients, and to make effective decisions, we will need better biological markers of aging."

The EORTC Cancer in the Elderly Task Force study provides a guideline on integrating several potential biomarkers of aging: inflammatory markers, telomere length and telomerase activity, genetic predisposition for longevity, gene expression of aging related genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell, immunosenescence, lymphocyte senescence p16INK4a expression in T lymphocytes, and plasma microRNA expression profile.

They point out that comprehensive geriatric assessment can provide information on the general health status of individuals, but that it is far from perfect as a prognostic or predictive tool for individual patients. Alternatively, biological changes in certain tissues which are the result of adaptive alterations due to past exposures as well as the natural aging process can help to assess aging.
-end-
This research was supported by Fonds Cancer (FOCA) of Belgium, the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen, the European Commission [FP7 259679 "IDEAL"], the German Research Foundation [DFG-PA 361/14-1], the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research [BMBF 0315890F, "Gerontoshield"], and the Vlaamse Liga tegen Kanker.

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.