Research Paper| Volume 14, ISSUE 2, 101448, March 2023

Multidisciplinary decision-making and course of treatment in older patients with colorectal cancer: Effect of geriatrician input

Published:February 15, 2023DOI:



      We evaluated the effect of the inclusion of a geriatrician in the multidisciplinary cancer team (MDT) on decision-making for chemotherapy with curative intent in older patients with colorectal cancer.

      Materials and Methods

      We audited all patients aged 70 years and older with colorectal cancer discussed at MDT meetings between January 2010 and July 2018; selection was limited to those patients for whom guidelines recommended chemotherapy with curative intent as part of the primary treatment. We assessed how treatment decisions came about, and what the course of treatment was in the period before (2010−2013) and after (2014–2018) the geriatrician joined the MDT meetings.


      There were 157 patients included: 80 patients from 2010 to 2013 and 77 patients from 2014 to 2018. Age was mentioned significantly less often as the reason to withhold chemotherapy in the 2014–2018 cohort (10% vs 27% in 2010–2013, p = 0.04). Instead, patient preferences, physical condition, and comorbidities were the main reasons stated for withholding chemotherapy. Although a similar proportion of patients started chemotherapy in both cohorts, patients treated in 2014–2018 required many fewer treatment adaptations and were thus more likely to complete their treatments as planned.


      Over time and by incorporating a geriatrician's input, the multidisciplinary selection of older patients with colorectal cancer for chemotherapy with curative intent has improved. By basing decisions on an assessment of the patient's ability to tolerate treatment rather than using a more general parameter such as age, both overtreatment of not-so-fit patients and undertreatment of fit-but-old patients can be prevented.


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