Adjuvant treatments do not alter the quality of life in elderly patients with colorectal cancer

A population-based study




The current study was performed to longitudinally assess the impact of adjuvant treatments on the quality of life (QoL) of elderly colorectal cancer survivors.


The Burgundy Digestive Cancer Registry was used to select all patients aged ≥75 years who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 2003 and 2005. A total of 209 patients were asked to complete questionnaires during the first year after diagnosis: at the time of inclusion in the study (Q0), at 3 months after the initial diagnosis (Q3), at 6 months after the initial diagnosis (Q6), and at 12 months after the initial diagnosis (Q12) using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30. A total of 125 patients (60%) responded. Mixed model analyses of variance for repeated measurement were used to compare QoL scores according to therapeutic schemes. Interactions between time of follow-up and treatment were tested.


Patient sex, age, location of the tumor, and TNM stage of disease did not appear to differ significantly between respondents and nonrespondents. Global Health and Emotional Functioning improved for colon cancer survivors between Q0 and Q12, and were noted to improve between Q3 and Q12 for rectal cancer patients. According to French recommendations, patients who received chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer (P = .176) or radiotherapy for rectal cancer (P = .959) reported no significant changes in Global Health compared with those patients not receiving adjuvant therapies. Patients treated with chemotherapy reported better Physical Functioning than patients who did not received chemotherapy (P = .0113).


To the authors' knowledge, the current study is the first to examine trends over time with regard to the influence of adjuvant treatments for colon and rectal cancers on QoL in a general aged population. Providing evidence that adjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer has no negative impact on the QoL of elderly patients is of great significance in encouraging clinicians to treat this population. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.