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Management of bladder cancer in older patients

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Published:2nd Mar 2022
Author: Hatakeyama S, Narita S, Okita K, Narita T, Iwamura H, Fujita N et al.
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Ref.:Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2022 Mar 3;52(3):203-213.
Management of bladder cancer in older patients

Evidence has shown that patients with bladder cancer are diagnosed at a much older age compared with those with other cancers. Given that co-morbidities and frailty are prevalent in older patients with advanced bladder cancer, they are easily excluded from randomized controlled trials. As little evidence has been available regarding assessment tools for frailty, the management of those patients remains challenging. This weakness is strongly manifested in muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Despite radical cystectomy is the standard of care for bladder cancer, there is an extensive undertreatment of older adult patients with potentially curative muscle-invasive bladder cancer. However, it is also true that radical cystectomy is often unsuitable for vulnerable or frail patients. Bladder preservation using trimodality therapy has been utilized as an alternative option, but the appropriate selection criteria for trimodality therapy remain unclear. Cisplatin-based regimens have been the first choice for advanced disease among eligible patients. Moreover, immunotherapy appears to have similar benefits and tolerability in both older and younger patients. Furthermore, palliative or supportive interventions need to be initiated earlier in patients with metastatic disease. Accumulating evidence suggests that frailty may play a key role in the selection of treatment modalities. Older patients should be considered for standard treatment based on frailty and not chronological age. Moreover, older patients with bladder cancer need to undergo geriatric assessment for proper decision-making.

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