Publication Abstract

Authors: Temple LK, Hsieh L, Wong WD, Saltz L, Schrag D

Title: Use of surgery among elderly patients with stage IV colorectal cancer.

Journal: J Clin Oncol 22(17):3475-84

Date: 2004 Sep 01

Abstract: PURPOSE: The role of surgery to remove the primary tumor among patients with stage IV colorectal cancer (CRC) is controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate surgical practice patterns for patients > or = 65 years of age with stage IV CRC in a US population-based cohort. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare-linked database to evaluate the patterns of cancer treatment for 9,011 Medicare beneficiaries presenting with stage IV CRC from 1991 to 1999. Patients were categorized according to whether they had primary-cancer-directed surgery (CDS) or no CDS within 4 months of diagnosis. The use of other treatment modalities, including metastasectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, was evaluated in relationship to whether patients belonged to the CDS or no CDS group. RESULTS: Seventy-two percent (6,469 of 9,011) of patients received CDS, and their 30-day postoperative mortality was 10%. Patients with left-sided or rectal lesions, patients older than age 75 years, blacks, and those of lower socioeconomic status were less likely to undergo CDS; but even among those older than age 75, the CDS rate was 69% (3,378 of 4,909). In contrast, chemotherapy use was less common (47% for patients who had CDS and 31% for those who did not). Metastasectomy was rare; only 3.9% of patients underwent these operations at any point from diagnosis to death. CONCLUSION: Palliative resection of the primary tumor is often performed for elderly US patients with stage IV colorectal cancer. This practice pattern merits re-evaluation, given the improvement in the efficacy of systemic chemotherapy.