Author(s): GomezMillan J
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Abstract Aging is associated with physiological changes and comorbid illnesses, which may affect an individual's tolerance to radiation. There is the belief that a relationship exists between age and radiation toxicity and therefore non-curative schemes are offered to older patients. Preclinical studies show that normal tissue radiation-induced toxicity differs little with age. In the clinical setting, retrospective and some prospective studies have reported that elderly patients treated with radical radiotherapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy, who do not have comorbidities and retain a good performance status, show a benefit in treatment outcomes. However, an increase in acute effects or a lowered functional tolerance has also been reported. To select candidates for radical treatments, a specific geriatric assessment should be used to stratify elderly patients as a function of the physiological status. Only specifically designed prospective studies can define the role of radiation treatment in elderly patients with different physiological status.
This article was published in Crit Rev Oncol Hematol
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine