Cancer Trials Need to Include More Seniors: Experts

Cancer Trials Need to Include More Seniors: Experts

Cancer Trials Need to Include More Seniors: Experts

Older adults react differently to treatment, oncologists' group notes

SOURCE: American Society of Clinical Oncology, news release, July 20, 2015

MONDAY, July 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical trials of cancer treatments need to include more elderly people, a leading group of cancer specialists says.

In a position statement released July 20, the American Society of Clinical Oncology called on the U.S. government and the cancer research community to broaden clinical trials to include older adults.

"Older people living with cancer often have different experiences and outcomes in their treatment than younger cancer patients," Dr. Julie Vose, society president, said in a news release from the group.

"As we age, for example, the risk of adverse reactions from treatment significantly increases. Older adults must be involved in clinical trials so we can learn the best way to treat older cancer patients resulting in improved outcomes and manageable toxicity," she explained.

More than 60 percent of cancers in the United States occur in people aged 65 and older, the statement authors say, noting the number of seniors will increase in coming years. However, there is a lack of evidence about cancer treatments for the elderly because too few are included in clinical trials, and clinical trials designed specifically for seniors are rare.

These trials need to mirror the age distribution and health-risk profile of patients with cancer, statement co-author Dr. Arti Hurria, director of City of Hope's Cancer and Aging Research Program, said in the news release.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology "has laid out a multi-pronged approach to expand the participation of older adults in clinical trials, ensuring that all patients will receive high-quality, evidence-based cancer care," Hurria added.

The position statement was also published July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about cancer.

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