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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 2178469, 10 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2178469
Review Article

Age Is Not a Limiting Factor in Interventional Radiotherapy (Brachytherapy) for Patients with Localized Cancer

1Radiation Oncology Section, Department of Surgery and Biomedical Sciences, University of Perugia and Perugia General Hospital, Perugia, Italy
2Interdisciplinary Brachytherapy Unit, University of Lübeck/UKSH-CL, Lübeck, Germany
3Polo Scienze Oncologiche ed Ematologiche, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Roma, Italy
4Radiation Oncology Section, Perugia General Hospital, Perugia, Italy
5Polo Scienze Oncologiche ed Ematologiche, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Gruppo Italiano di Oncologia Geriatrica (GIOGER), Roma, Italy
6Polo Scienze Oncologiche ed Ematologiche, Istituto di Radiologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Roma, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Valentina Lancellotta; ti.gpinu@attollecnal.anitnelav

Received 18 August 2017; Revised 4 December 2017; Accepted 25 December 2017; Published 21 January 2018

Academic Editor: Pierfrancesco Franco

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Lancellotta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This review examines the role of interventional radiotherapy (IRT otherwise known as brachytherapy) in cancer treatment for elderly patients. Despite their advanced age and associated comorbidities, elderly patients should receive definitive cancer therapies, including surgery and radiotherapy (RT). In fact, RT becomes first-line option for patients who are not eligible for surgery (due to comorbidities, anticoagulant drugs, and risk of disfigurement) or those who refuse it. It emerged from this review of the literature as effective, simple, safe, and comfortable and was associated with good local control, low toxicity rates, and excellent cosmesis and provided a cost benefit. IRT may be used as sole treatment for small cancers or as a useful adjunct to surgery or external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) in more advanced (or lymph node positive) cases, especially when the aim is local control with adequate preservation of normal tissue function. As palliative treatment, IRT preserves quality of life and/or improves survival. It is to be hoped that this review will serve as a helpful guide for members of multidisciplinary teams that are involved in treating elderly patients with cancer.