Older patients seem to face similar outcomes as younger patients when treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiation for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC), according to a recent study published in Annals of Oncology.

Michael Vickers, MD, MPH, FRCPC, of The Ottawa Hospital and fellow Canadian researchers looked at 1,172 diagnosed with LARC at five major Canadian Cancer Centres, and who had received neoadjuvant chemoradiation and curative intent surgery between 2005 to 2012. Among those patients, 295 were at least 70 years.

They found that patients older than 70 years were associated with similar disease-free, cancer-specific and overall survival compared to the younger age group upon multivariable analysis. Increasing age was not found to be predictive of disease-free or cancer-specific survival as a continuous variable. However, it did correlate with an inferior overall survival.

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In addition, patients who were at least 70 years were less likely to receive adjuvant chemotherapy or complete neoadjuvant chemoradiation, and more likely to be anemic at initiation of neoadjuvant chemoradiation.

“Decisions regarding eligibility for neoadjuvant chemoradiation and surgery should not be based on age alone,” the authors concluded.


  1. Jiang DM, Raissouni S, Mercer J, et al. Clinical outcomes of elderly patients receiving neoadjuvant chemoradiation for locally advanced rectal cancer. Annals of Oncology. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv331. July 30, 2015.