Lung cancer management: challenges in elderly patients

M. Mollica 1, R. Salvi 2, G. Paoli 1, V. Graziani 1, F.S. Cerqua 1, C. Iadevaia 1, S. Lavoretano 1, V. D’Agnano 3, D. Rocco 4, A. Fiorelli 1, C.M. Tranfa 1, A. Bianco 1, F. Perrotta 3

1 Department of Translational Medical Sciences, University of Campania “L. Vanvitelli”/Hosp. Monaldi, Naples, Italy; 2 Department of Thoracic Surgery, Vincenzo Monaldi Hospital-AORN dei Colli, Naples, Italy; 1 Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “Vincenzo Tiberio”, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy; 4 Division of Pulmonary Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera Dei Colli Monaldi, Naples. Italy

Elderly patients represent the majority of lung cancer cases, but they are often under-represented in clinical cancer treatment trials or excluded from studies because of comorbidities. Due to lack of data, treatment options for this population must be carefully evaluated and preliminary assessment should aim to stratify patients into different risk subgroups. In early NSCLC stages, surgery remains the best therapeutic option in low-moderate risk patients. Conversely, in patients unfit for surgery or in advanced stages, chemotherapy and radiotherapy should be considered as they may offer benefits in terms of clinical outcomes. Recent developments in targeting driver genes mutations as well as immune checkpoints have opened novel horizon in lung cancer management and systematic investigation in elderly population is required. In this review, we examined the more recent results of the literature about the therapeutic scenario in limited and advanced lung cancer stages in elderly and very elderly population.

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