By 2030 70% of newly diagnosed pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) will occur in older adults. Elderly patients, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as people older than 65 years, represent a heterogeneous group with different biological and functional characteristics that need personalized anticancer treatments. Since older patients are under-represented in randomized phase III trials, their management is mostly extrapolated from studies performed in younger patients, without robust evidence-based recommendations. However, data from retrospective studies and case-control series show that elderly may benefit from chemotherapy in both the adjuvant and advanced disease settings. Although with discordant results, gemcitabine-based treatment and dose-adapted fluorouracil combination regimens seem to be effective and well tolerated in this subset of patients.A proper balance of potential treatment benefits and side effects represent the crucial point for managing elderly patients with PDAC. Therefore an appropriate patient selection is essential to maximize the therapeutic benefit in the older population: randomized studies aiming to better standardizing fitness parameters and implementing the routine use of comprehensive geriatric assessments are strongly warranted. In this light, the detection of molecular prognostic markers able to detect patients who may benefit more from oncological treatments should be a primary endpoint of age-focused clinical trials. Altogether, the field of geriatric oncology will expand in the next years, and the clinical management of elderly patients affected by PDAC will become a major public health issue.
Chemotherapy in elderly patients with pancreatic cancer: Efficacy, feasibility and future perspectives / Macchini, M.; Chiaravalli, M.; Zanon, S.; Peretti, U.; Mazza, E.; Gianni, L.; Reni, M.. - In: CANCER TREATMENT REVIEWS. - ISSN 0305-7372. - 72:(2019), pp. 1-6. [10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.10.013]