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Effect of age on rates of palliative surgery and chemotherapy use in patients with locally advanced or metastatic gastric cancer.

Published: 9th August 2017

Authors: S. D. Nelen, M. van Putten, V. E. P. P. Lemmens, K. Bosscha, J. H. W. de Wilt, R. H. A. Verhoeven et al.

Background

This study assessed trends in the treatment and survival of palliatively treated patients with gastric cancer, with a focus on age‐related differences.

Method

For this retrospective, population‐based, nationwide cohort study, all patients diagnosed between 1989 and 2013 with non‐cardia gastric cancer with metastasized disease or invasion into adjacent structures were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Trends in treatment and 2‐year overall survival were analysed and compared between younger (age less than 70 years) and older (aged 70 years or more) patients. Analyses were done for five consecutive periods of 5 years, from 1989–1993 to 2009–2013. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to examine the probability of undergoing surgery. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was used to identify independent risk factors for death.

Results

Palliative resection rates decreased significantly in both younger and older patients, from 24·5 and 26·2 per cent to 3·0 and 5·0 per cent respectively. Compared with patients who received chemotherapy alone, both younger (21·6 versus 6·3 per cent respectively; P < 0·001) and older (14·7 versus 4·6 per cent; P < 0·001) patients who underwent surgery had better 2‐year overall survival rates. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that younger and older patients who received chemotherapy alone had worse overall survival than patients who had surgery only (younger: hazard ratio (HR) 1·22, 95 per cent c.i. 1·12 to 1·33; older: HR 1·12, 1·01 to 1·24). After 2003 there was no association between period of diagnosis and overall survival in younger or older patients.

Conclusion

Despite changes in the use of resection and chemotherapy as palliative treatment, overall survival rates of patients with advanced and metastatic gastric cancer did not improve.

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