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Tolerability and outcomes of curative radiotherapy in patients aged 85 or more years

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In developed nations, more than 50% of all cancer diagnoses are made in people aged over 65 years.1 It is well recognised that older patients are underrepresented in clinical trials.28 Older patients may be excluded from clinical trials because they tend to have high numbers of comorbid conditions, or because of a perception that they are unable to tolerate aggressive treatment.5,9 Population-level data show that older patients with many types of solid tumours are less likely to receive aggressive therapy,1012 which may result in poorer outcomes.9

Our primary aim in this study was to document the tolerability of radiotherapy given with curative intent in patients aged 85 years and older.


This retrospective study was approved by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre ethics review committee (study 13/21).


Eligible patients included those aged 85 years and over who received curative radiotherapy at any Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre site between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2010. Treatment was delivered in three metropolitan Melbourne sites, and one…