The influence of age and co-morbidity on treatment and prognosis of ovarian cancer: a population-based study



      With the rising mean age, more patients will have one or more other serious diseases at the time of diagnosis of ovarian cancer (co-morbidity). In this study, the independent effects of age and co-morbidity on the application of treatment guidelines and prognosis were evaluated.


      All patients with epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed between 1995 and 2001 in the southern part of The Netherlands (N = 1116) were included.


      The prevalence of co-morbidity increased from 34% of the age group <70 to 63% of the older age group. Eighty-three percent of the patients with FIGO stage II or stage III younger than 70 years underwent the advised treatment (combination of surgery and chemotherapy) compared to only 45% of the patients aged 70 or older. In a multivariable analysis age, FIGO stage, presence of co-morbidity, and year of diagnosis seemed to be independent predictors of receiving the advised treatment. In multivariable analyses age 70 + (HR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.03–1.7) and the use of both surgery and chemotherapy (HR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.3–0.6, reference is only surgery) were independent prognostic factors for overall survival.


      Even in the absence of co-morbidity, standard combination therapy was prescribed significantly less often for elderly patients with FIGO II or III ovarian cancer. Age and combined treatment of surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy were independent prognostic factors. Co-morbidity did not seem to have a prognostic effect.


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