Author | Lodovico Balducci, MD


Bone Complications of Cancer Treatment in the Elderly

July 15, 2010

Osteopenia and osteoporosis are increasingly common in cancer patients, owing to the aging of the population and to new forms of cancer treatment. Androgen and estrogen deprivation, as well as some forms of cytotoxic chemotherapy, may lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis. Patients at risk for osteoporosis include those treated with aromatase inhibitors and with androgen deprivation for more than 1 year. In addition, all patients 65 years of age and older are at risk of osteoporosis when treated with cytotoxic agents, and so should be screened for bone loss. Several treatments have been effective in the prevention and management of osteoporosis. In patients at risk for this complication, it is recommended to obtain a bone density evaluation and to start appropriate treatment. This may include calcium and vitamin D supplementation for mild forms of osteopenia, and bisphosphonate therapy or denosumab (Prolia) for more advanced osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Pharmacology of Antineoplastic Medications in Older Cancer Patients

January 02, 2009

In this review, we will examine the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antineoplastic agents after a brief introduction to geriatric medicine, as a framework of reference for clinical decisions. We will conclude with the outline of a research agenda specific for older cancer patients.

Cancer-Related Anemia: Special Considerations in the Elderly

January 01, 2007

Anemia raises special concerns in older cancer patients. This review addresses the prevalence, causes, and mechanisms of anemia in older individuals, the complications of anemia in this population (including its impact on cancer treatment), and the appropriate management of anemia in the elderly.

Management of Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia in the Older Cancer Patient

December 01, 2006

The chemotherapy of most cancers may be beneficial to older individuals as long as patients are selected on the basis of their life expectancy and functional reserve, conditions that may interfere with the tolerance of chemotherapy are corrected, and adequate doses of chemotherapy are administered. Prevention of neutropenia-related infection may both improve the outcome of cancer and reduce the risk of toxic deaths in older patients. The prophylactic use of myelopoietic growth factors is recommended in individuals aged 65 and older when the risk of chemotherapy-induced neutropenic infection is at least 10% or higher. In this article we explore the management of neutropenia and neutropenic infections in older cancer patients, as well as review the causes and the risk of this complication.