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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 348174, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/348174
Review Article

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors for Elderly Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Oncology Department, Fondazione Poliambulanza, 25124 Brescia, Italy

Received 31 August 2009; Revised 14 March 2010; Accepted 7 April 2010

Academic Editor: Alexander Bürkle

Copyright © 2010 F. Meriggi and A. Zaniboni. 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

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in both men and women and approximately 219,440 new cases of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were estimated to occur in the USA in 2009, which caused 159,390 NSCLC-related deaths. More than 50% of cases of advanced NSCLC are diagnosed in patients older than age 65, and recent Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEERs) data suggest that the median age at diagnosis is 70 years. Until recently, the disease has been undertreated in this patient population, with a perception among many clinicians that elderly patients do not tolerate chemotherapy or radiotherapy. So, single agent chemotherapy is the recommended approach by the ASCO and International Expert Panels in unselected patients. The introduction of novel targeted therapies, such as Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) which improved survival versus placebo in patients who had previously failed on chemotherapy, gives clinicians new, effective, and better tolerated options to consider when treating NSCLC in elderly patients. This paper describes the advances of EGFR TKIs for elderly patients with advanced NSCLC.