We retrospectively assessed tolerability and efficacy of paclitaxel plus gemcitabine combination in 259 patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) enrolled in three randomized SICOG trials according to their age (<or=70 or >70 years) at study entry. Apart from age, demographic and clinical characteristics were similar in the two groups. Response rate of paclitaxel plus gemcitabine was similar in younger and in elderly (36% versus 30%). Chemotherapy was well tolerated, but severe neutropenia (12% versus 7%), anaemia (6.6% versus 1.8%), and vomiting (5% versus 0) were more frequent in elderly patients. Both median progression-free survival (PFS, 5.5 months versus 4.2 months), and overall survival (OS, 11.1 months versus 9.1 months) resulted slightly prolonged for younger patients. However, only stage and performance status resulted independently affecting PFS and OS. In conclusion, paclitaxel plus gemcitabine were similarly tolerated and active in younger and elderly patients. This regimen should be considered an option for the management of fit elderly patients.
- Geriatrics and Gerontology