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The Effects of Age and Comorbidity on Treatment and Outcomes in Women With Endometrial Cancer

Truong, Pauline T., MDCM, FRCPC*‡; Kader, Hosam A., MBBS, FRCPC*‡; Lacy, Barbara, MSc§; Lesperance, Mary, PhD§; MacNeil, Mary V., MD, FRCPC†‡; Berthelet, Eric, MD, FRCPC*‡; McMurtrie, Elissa, MD, FRCPC; Alexander, Skaria, MBBS, FRCPC*

American Journal of Clinical Oncology: April 2005 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 157-164
doi: 10.1097/01.coc.0000143049.05090.12
Original Article: Gynecologic Malignancies

Background: Although the incidence of endometrial cancer increases with age, the effect of patient age on treatment selection and outcomes is unclear. In addition, although aging is associated with increased prevalence of comorbid conditions, the extent to which comorbidities influence endometrial cancer management is not well documented.

Methods: This population-based analysis evaluates the effect of age and comorbidity on endometrial cancer treatment and outcome in a cohort of 401 patients referred to the Vancouver Island Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency from 1989 to 1996. Treatment and 5-year actuarial overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were compared by age at diagnosis (<65, 65–74, and ≥75 years) and comorbidity index (Charlson score 0–1 and ≥2).

Results: Median follow-up time was 7.8 years. In this cohort, 148 (37%), 152 (38%), and 101 (25%) were aged <65, 65–74, and ≥75 years, respectively. Charlson comorbidity scores ≥2 were found in 18% of patients. Distributions of disease stage, tumor characteristics, and surgical therapy were similar across age and comorbidity subgroups. Standard surgery in this cohort comprised hysterectomy without routine lymphadenectomy. In stage Ic disease, the use of postoperative RT declined with advanced age (96%, 97%, and 74% in patients aged <65, 65–74, and ≥75 years, respectively, P = 0.05) and with increased comorbidities (91% and 79% in patients with Charlson score 0–1 and ≥2, respectively, P = 0.07). Among stage Ic patients aged ≥75 years, pelvic/vaginal relapse occurred in 2 of 6 patients treated with hysterectomy alone compared with 0 of 20 patients treated with postoperative radiotherapy (P = 0.006). On multivariable Cox modeling, age at diagnosis, performance status, stage, grade, lymphovascular invasion, surgery, and radiotherapy use, but not Charlson comorbidity score, were significant predictors for overall survival.

Conclusions: Although surgical therapy for endometrial cancer was not influenced by age or comorbidities, reduced use of postoperative radiotherapy in stage Ic disease was observed among women with advanced age and high comorbidity index. The associated pelvic/vaginal relapse rates were higher in elderly patients not treated with radiotherapy. Chronologic age alone should not preclude patients from consideration of optimal local therapy.

From the *Radiation Therapy Program and †Systemic Therapy Program, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island Centre, the ‡University of British Columbia, and the §Department of Mathematics, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Presented in part at the 17th Annual Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists Scientific Meeting October 3–5, 2003, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Reprints: Pauline T. Truong, MDCM, FRCPC, Radiation Therapy Program, Vancouver Island Centre, BC Cancer Agency, 2410 Lee Avenue, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8R 6V5. E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.