Geriatric oncology is a growing area of cancer research. This field focuses on the effects of cancer and its treatment on older adults. Including older adults in cancer research is important because new cancer treatments are often studied first in younger, healthier patients, but over 60% of people with cancer in the United States are age 65 or older.
In this Research Round Up podcast, William Tew, MD, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Andrew Artz, MD, from The University of Chicago Medicine, discuss the new research on cancer care for older adults presented the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting:
Two studies found promising results using immunotherapy for older adults, including ipilimumab (Yervoy), pembrolizumab (Keytruda), and nivolumab (Opdivo) [3:03].
A large study looked at the long-term results of surgery for colorectal cancer in older adults [9:26].
Individualized evaluation before treatment is very important for older adults. They may have additional medical concerns or have a higher risk of complications. These assessments can help doctors recommend additional preparation, known as prehabilitation, or modify treatment so it is safer [11:54].
The plenary presentations discuss the research that could potentially have the greatest impact in patient care. One plenary study looked at adding chemotherapy with temozolomide (Temodar) to radiation therapy to treat glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain tumor, in older adults [16:28].
As Dr. Artz mentions, one of the key takeaways from the research presented at this year’s Annual Meeting is that “older patients are often able to be offered these newer therapies or approaches; it just has to be done in a more careful manner and with a planned team approach.”
This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.