Background: Older adults account for 70% of cancer-related deaths, but previous studies have shown that they are underrepresented in cancer clinical trials. We sought to analyze the representation and outcomes of older adults in trials conducted in the era of novel targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Methods: We searched the 2020 NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology and retrieved trials from the past 10 years leading to category 1 recommendations in the first-line metastatic setting for the 5 most common causes of cancer death. We categorized trials by cancer type, single-agent versus multiagent approach, and therapeutic class. We described the percentage of older adults (according to each trial’s definition) and used a Mantel-Haenszel random-effects meta-analysis model to compare overall and progression-free survival by age. Results: We identified 30 trials consisting of 24,416 patients. Across all trials, 44% of enrolled patients were older adults. Representation of older adults by cancer type within trials was 49% prostate cancer, 38% pancreatic cancer, 37% breast cancer, and 34% non–small cell lung cancer. Representation of older adults also varied by therapeutic class: 20% received immunotherapy, 44% received cytotoxic chemotherapy, 54% received targeted/hormonal therapy, and 34% received combination therapy (P<.001 for all comparisons). For each year since 2010, the percentage of older adults enrolled in trials increased by 1.9%, although this difference was not significant. We observed no difference in overall or progression-free survival between older and younger adults. In our analysis of practice-changing clinical trials, we found that 44% of clinical trial participants were older adults. Trials that included immunotherapy or a combination of therapeutic classes had a lower representation of older adults (<40%). Conclusions: We found that >40% of patients in practice-changing trials are older adults. Although they remain underrepresented in clinical trials compared with the general population, older adults in practice-changing trials seem to be better represented than in previously reported analyses of cooperative group trials.
Ronald Chow, Daniel E. Lage, Grant R. Williams, Mina S. Sedrak, Joseph A. Greer, Jennifer S. Temel, and Ryan D. Nipp
Kah Poh Loh, Vivian Lam, Katey Webber, Simran Padam, Mina S. Sedrak, Vivek Musinipally, Madison Grogan, Carolyn J. Presley, Janice Grandi, Chandrika Sanapala, Daniel A. Castillo, Grace DiGiovanni, Supriya G. Mohile, Louise C. Walter, and Melisa L. Wong
Background: Maintaining functional status is important to older adults with cancer, but data are limited on how systemic treatments affect functional status. We systematically reviewed changes in functional status during systemic cancer treatments and identified characteristics associated with functional decline and improvement. Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials for articles examining characteristics associated with functional changes in older adults during systemic cancer treatment published in English between database inception and January 11, 2019 (PROSPERO CRD42019123125). Findings were summarized with descriptive statistics. Study characteristics between older adult–specific and non–older adult–specific studies were compared using the Fisher exact test. Results: We screened 15,244 titles/abstracts and 519 full texts. The final analysis included 44 studies, which enrolled >8,400 patients; 39% of studies focused on older adults (1 study enrolled adults aged ≥60 years, 10 enrolled adults aged ≥65 years, and 6 enrolled adults aged ≥70 years). Almost all studies (98%) used patient-reported outcomes to measure functional status; only 20% used physical performance tests. Reporting of functional change was heterogeneous, with 48% reporting change scores. Older adult–specific studies were more likely to analyze functional change dichotomously (29% vs 4%; P=.008). Functional decline ranged widely, from 6% to 90%. The most common patient characteristics associated with functional decline were older age (n=7 studies), worse performance status (n=4), progressive disease status (n=4), pain (n=4), anemia (n=4), and worse nutritional status (n=4). Twelve studies examined functional improvement and identified 11 unique associated characteristics. Conclusions: Functional decline is increasingly recognized as an important outcome in older adults with cancer, but definitions and analyses are heterogeneous, leading to a wide range of prevalence. To identify patients at highest risk of functional decline during systemic cancer treatments, trials need to routinely analyze functional outcomes and measure characteristics associated with decline (eg, nutrition).
Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines
Efrat Dotan, Louise C. Walter, Ilene S. Browner, Katherine Clifton, Harvey Jay Cohen, Martine Extermann, Cary Gross, Sumati Gupta, Genevieve Hollis, Joleen Hubbard, Reshma Jagsi, Nancy L. Keating, Elizabeth Kessler, Thuy Koll, Beatriz Korc-Grodzicki, June M. McKoy, Sumi Misra, Dominic Moon, Tracey O’Connor, Cynthia Owusu, Ashley Rosko, Marcia Russell, Mina Sedrak, Fareeha Siddiqui, Amy Stella, Derek L. Stirewalt, Ishwaria M. Subbiah, William P. Tew, Grant R. Williams, Liz Hollinger, Giby V. George, and Hema Sundar
The NCCN Guidelines for Older Adult Oncology address specific issues related to the management of cancer in older adults, including screening and comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA), assessing the risks and benefits of treatment, preventing or decreasing complications from therapy, and managing patients deemed to be at high risk for treatment-related toxicity. CGA is a multidisciplinary, in-depth evaluation that assesses the objective health of the older adult while evaluating multiple domains, which may affect cancer prognosis and treatment choices. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on recent updates to the NCCN Guidelines providing specific practical framework for the use of CGA when evaluating older adults with cancer.