Treatment of Patients with Advanced Gastroesophageal Adenocarcinoma: Does Age Matter?

Sylvie Lorenzen, Ralf Dieter Hofheinz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Gastroesophageal cancer is the fourth most frequent malignant disease and, despite significant advances in chemotherapy, the prognosis of unresectable or recurrent gastroesophageal cancer is poor. The majority of patients, nearly two-thirds, are over the age of 65 years at diagnosis. Elderly patients are a heterogeneous population and aging occurs at different rates in different individuals. The chronological age of a patient does not necessarily reflect the physiological age. However, elderly patients are more likely to have a number of concomitant diseases and impaired organ function, which should be considered when making treatment decisions. Therefore, treatment in older adults requires particular caution, and physiologic age rather than chronologic age should be considered when deciding for or against systemic therapy. Older patients are generally underrepresented in clinical trials and many elderly patients do not receive effective combination therapies due to concerns with tolerability. Age itself is not a negative predictive factor and treatment should not be omitted just on the basis of chronological age. Older patients who fulfill the standard inclusion criteria of clinical trials seem to have a similar advantage from palliative chemotherapy for gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma as younger patients; however, large prospective trials in the elderly population are needed to guide clinicians in making evidence-based decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-409
Number of pages7
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


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