Feasibility of radiation therapy in patients 90years of age and older: A French multicentre analysis

Published:March 12, 2014DOI:



      There are only scarce data on the management of patients aged 90 years or older with cancer, and more particularly on the place of radiation therapy (RT). We report the first large study on patients (pts) aged 90 years or older receiving RT.

      Methods and materials

      Records from RT departments from five institutions were reviewed to identify pts 90 years of age and older who underwent RT for various malignant tumours treated between 2003 and 2012. Tumours’ characteristics were examined, as well as treatment specificities and treatment intent.


      308 pts receiving 318 RT courses were identified, mean age was 93.2 years (standard deviation 2.8). Treatment was given with curative and palliative intent in 44% and 56%, respectively. Factors associated with a curative treatment were performance status (PS), place of life, previous surgery and tumour stage. Median total prescribed dose was 36 Gy (4–76 Gy). Hypofractionation and split course were used in 88% and 7.3%, respectively. Most toxicities were mild to moderate. RT could not be completed in 23 pts (7.5%). No long-term toxicity was reported. Median overall survival was 22.9 months (95CI: 15.5–42.7 months). Cancer was the cause of death in 8.7% and 46% of pts treated with curative and palliative intent, respectively.


      This study shows that RT is feasible for patients aged 90 years or more. PS, place of life and tumour stage were factors of the therapeutic decision. There is no reason to withdraw pts with good general health condition from potentially curative RT, provided that careful attention is paid to factors of toxicity and to geriatric vulnerabilities.


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      1. Blanpain N. 15 000 centenaires en 2010 en France, 200 000 en 2060? INSEE Prem N°1319 n.d.

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