Objective: The effects of continuation of chemotherapy on the quality of life (QOL) of elderly patients with lung cancer have not yet been clearly demonstrated. The aim of this study was to clarify the QOL profiles in elderly patients during chemotherapy in comparison with younger patients.
Patients: Forty-nine patients aged 65 and older (group A) who were undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer and 36 patients younger than 65 (group B) in similar therapy were retrospectively analyzed.
Methods: QOL and performance status (PS) were evaluated using the QOL-anticancer drugs (ACD) scale and Karnofsky performance status (KPS) scale at the beginning of each course of chemotherapy, respectively. The total score of each QOL domain and KPS at each course were compared between the groups.
Results: No differences were observed in gender, histology, stage, KPS, applied chemotherapeutic regimen, response rate, or median survival between the groups. With regard to the hematological toxicity, greater than grade 3 or equal leukopenia and neutropenia were more frequently observed in group A. The total score of the functional domain was significantly deteriorated during chemotherapy in group A, while that in group B was not altered (p = 0.014 by repeated ANOVA). Interestingly, a moderate correlation between KPS and the total score of the functional QOL domain was observed (r = 0.454).
Conclusions: Continuation of chemotherapy for elderly patients with lung cancer led to a marked deterioration in the functional QOL. The KPS can be useful for estimating the functional QOL in cases where QOL data is missing.