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Clinical pharmacology of oncology agents in older adults: A comprehensive review of how chronologic and functional age can influence treatment-related effects

      Abstract

      Unique challenges exist when managing older adults with cancer. Associations between cancer and age-related physiologic changes have a direct impact on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cancer therapies and can affect drug dosing, dose intensity, efficacy, safety and quality of life. The breadth and depth of these issues, however, have not been fully evaluated because the majority of clinical trials have focused on a younger and healthier population. As a consequence, little information is available to support clinicians in making evidence-based decisions regarding treatment with cancer therapies in older adults, especially those over age 75. Prior clinical pharmacology reviews summarized the literature on how age-related physiologic changes can influence and affect conventional and targeted anti-cancer treatments. Our article provides an updated review with expanded information that includes small molecule kinase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapies, hormonal, conventional, and miscellaneous agents. Additionally, our article integrates how functional age, determined by the geriatric assessment (GA), can also influence treatment-related effects and health outcomes. Broadening cancer therapy trials to capture not only chronologic age but also functional age would allow clinicians to better identify subsets of older adults who benefit from treatment versus those most vulnerable to morbidity and/or mortality.

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