Purpose: Sufficient data are currently unavailable to assist in defining suitable regimens for patients ≥70 years with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods: Chemonaïve patients with a performance status (PS) of 0 or 1 and stage IIIB or IV NSCLC were randomized to gemcitabine 1000mg/m2 on days 1 and 8 plus carboplatin area under the curve (AUC) 5.5 on day 1; the same schedule of gemcitabine plus paclitaxel 200mg/m2 on day 1; or paclitaxel 225mg/m2 on day 1 plus carboplatin AUC 6.0 on day 1. Cycles were every 21 days up to 6. Efficacy and toxicity results were compared by age groups. Results: Overall survival (OS) between patients <70 years (8.6 months, 95% CI: 7.9, 9.5) and ≥70 years (7.9 months, 95% CI: 7.1, 9.5) was similar. OS was 8.8 months (95% CI: 7.5, 10.3) among patients 70-74 years, 6.5 months (95% CI: 5.6, 9.3) among patients 75-79 years, and 7.9 months (95% CI: 6.3, 10.3) among patients ≥80 years. OS was lower among patients 75-79 years compared with patients 70-74 years (P=0.04). Compared with patients <70 years, patients ≥70 years experienced similar rates of myelosuppresion, but younger patients experienced more vomiting and nausea. There was no clear pattern with respect to differences in efficacy by treatments across age groups. Conclusions: Based on the similarity of patient outcomes across age groups, doublet chemotherapy is feasible among carefully selected elderly patients with good PS.
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