Opportunities to Improve Lung Cancer Care for Older Patients


“With the majority of lung cancer patients being older than 65, it is imperative that actions are taken to encourage and facilitate clinical trials among older patients.” 

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BUFFALO, NY- September 27, 2023 – A new editorial paper was published in Aging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as "Aging (Albany NY)" and "Aging-US" by Web of Science) Volume 15, Issue 17, entitled, “Promising trends in lung cancer care, but are we overlooking the majority?

In their new editorial, researchers Bhavina Sharma and Apar Kishor Ganti from the University of Nebraska Medical Center discuss challenges and opportunities for better lung cancer care for the elderly. Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, after female breast cancer and prostate cancer. It accounts for more cancer-related deaths in both men and women than any other types of cancer. 

The incidence of new lung cancer has decreased between 1999-2019, mirroring the fall in tobacco use in the past few decades. Lung cancer-related mortality has also decreased with the recent advances in screening techniques and treatment strategies. However, the incidence of lung cancer and lung cancer mortality is still disproportionately higher among older patients (65 years and older). 

Multiple studies have shown that older patients are more likely to be undertreated because of their chronological age, even after accounting for their comorbidities and socioeconomic status. Common reasons for this disparity are insufficient study evidence, lack of appropriate resources and support, patient factors such as socioeconomic status, as well as variations in individual physician practices and preferences. Even though the median age of lung cancer diagnosis is 71 years, and more than two-thirds of patients are older than 65 years, older patients are less likely to be enrolled in clinical trials. 

“Although there is now increasing effort and guidance by major cancer societies and regulatory groups to increase inclusion of older patients, better conscious collaboration between the stakeholders is necessary for effective implementation of the strategies discussed and to enhance enrollment and retention of older cancer patients.”

Read the full paper: DOI: https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.204662 

Corresponding Author: Apar Kishor Ganti

Corresponding Email: aganti@unmc.edu 

Keywords: lung cancer, aging, clinical trials

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About Aging-US:

Launched in 2009, Aging (Aging-US) publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.

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