(HealthDay News) — Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is associated with survival benefit over chemotherapy (CT) alone for elderly patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer, according to a study published online October 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Christopher D. Corso, MD, PhD, from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, and colleagues examined outcomes for elderly patients (≥70 years) treated with CT vs. CRT. Data were included for 8,637 patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer in the National Cancer Data Base between 2003–2011.

The researchers found that 43.7 and 56.3% of the patients received CT and CRT, respectively. CRT receipt was less likely with increasing age, clinical stage III disease, female sex, and the presence of medical comorbidities (all P<0.01). Compared with CT, CRT use correlated with increased overall survival on univariate and multivariate analysis (median overall survival, 15.6 vs. 9.3 months). Survival benefit associated with CRT was confirmed in a propensity score-matched cohort of 6,856 patients (hazard ratio, 0.52; P<0.001). In subset analysis, patients who were alive at four months after diagnosis had a survival benefit with concurrent versus sequential CRT (median overall survival, 17.0 vs. 15.4 months; log-rank P=0.01).

“Our findings suggest that CRT should be the preferred strategy in elderly patients who are expected to tolerate the toxicities of the combined approach,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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