BACKGROUND: An increasing proportion of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma are older than 75years. Previous studies suggested that ageing does not adversely impact survival but they have the drawback of being retrospective and spanning a prolonged period of time.
GOALS: Evaluate management and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma in elderly.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A multidisciplinary oncology meeting prospectively evaluated all patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Management were standardised according to European and American guidelines. Forty patients older than 75years were matched with younger patients for tumour extension and liver function. Both groups were compared for the type of treatment and survival.
RESULTS: Male/female ratio was 1.2 as compared to 7 in controls. Cirrhosis was related mostly to hepatitis C virus in elderly, and equally to hepatitis C or B virus and alcohol in controls. Curative treatments were recommended in 55% of elderly and 75% of controls. Treatment actually performed was curative in 25% in elderly as compared to 63% in controls. Median survival (30months) was identical in both groups.
CONCLUSION: Despite more restricted access to curative treatments, survival of elderly patients with hepatocellular carcinoma is comparable to that of younger patients.