Completion of adjuvant chemotherapy and use of health services for older women with epithelial ovarian cancer

Kathleen M. Fairfield, Kimberly Murray, F. Lee Lucas, Heidi R. Wierman, Craig C. Earle, Edward L. Trimble, Laurie Small, Joan L. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: This analysis identifies factors associated with completion of adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with ovarian cancer and subsequent use of health services. Patients and Methods: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) -Medicare database to identify 4,617 women age 65 years or older with ovarian cancer diagnosed from 2001 to 2005. By using multivariable analyses with completion of chemotherapy as the outcome of interest, we describe factors associated with completion of treatment, including age, race, marital status, comorbidities, and sociodemographic factors. Use of health services was captured from Medicare claims. Results: Among 4,617 patients with untreated ovarian cancer, 1,329 (28.8%) received no chemotherapy, 1,139 (24.7%) received a partial course of chemotherapy, and 2,149 (46.5%) completed chemotherapy. Women age 75 years or older were at greater risk of incomplete chemotherapy versus women age 65 to 74 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.64; 95% CI, 1.33 to 2.04). Having two or more comorbidities was also significantly associated with incomplete chemotherapy (OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.34 to 2.50). Among women who received either a partial or complete course of chemotherapy, we did not find an increase in use of health services (hospitalizations, emergency department visits, or physician visits) for the oldest women (age 80 years or older) compared with younger women. Conclusion: There is considerable room for improvement in helping older patients with ovarian cancer initiate and complete chemotherapy. The oldest women who completed chemotherapy in this study did not use health services more than younger women did. Treatment teams for older patients with ovarian cancer should include expertise in geriatric assessment, should carefully identify medical and psychosocial barriers to completing treatment, and should support patients throughout treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3921-3926
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number29
StatePublished - Oct 11 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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