• taxol;
  • dose intensity;
  • age;
  • ovarian cancer


Background. In the treatment of advanced-stage ovarian cancer, it is common practice to treat elderly patients in a less aggressive fashion than young patients. This approach is based on the notion that age is associated with poor patient tolerance to aggressive chemotherapy. Relatively little data exist to support this contention. The most exciting new chemotherapy agent to be developed in the last 10 years is taxol, a diterpeniod derivative of the Northwestern yew Taxus brevifolia.

Methods. The ability to administer dose-intensive taxol to adult patients with recurrent ovarian cancer was assessed retrospectively, and the question was asked whether the administered dose intensity of taxol was unfavorably influenced by age. Forty-eight patients with recurrent ovarian carcinoma received taxol at an initial dose of 250 mg/m2 every 3 weeks. Age in this cohort ranged from 26 to 74 years, with a median of 55. Twenty-nine percent (14 of 48) of the patients treated were 61 years of age or greater. Criteria for administration of taxol included a creatinine clearance of > 45 ml/minute, minimal abnormalities in liver function tests, good performance status, and the absence of substantial comorbid disease.

Results. Elderly patients in this cohort (age > 60 years) did not differ from younger patients with respect to administered dose intensity, number of cycles of therapy administered, or the occurrence of serious or mild toxicities.

Conclusions. Age, in and of itself, should not be a factor in the consideration of dose modifications of taxol.