The EORTC Cancer in the Elderly Task Force (ETF) focuses on developing clinical trials in collaboration with the EORTC disease oriented groups and on strategic aspects in the field of geriatric oncology.
The ETF established a standardized Elderly Minimal Dataset (MinDS) for the purpose of harmonizing the collection of data relevant to the elderly and to enable future cross study/practice comparisons (Ann Oncol 2011; 22(8):1922-1926). It was emphasized that the dataset need not be restrictive or comprehensive but rather should form the backbone upon which individual investigators could add assessment tools pertinent to the particular study or specific local interests. It is anticipated that this dataset will evolve over time with addition, removal, or refinement of tools as more data become available. A key aspect of the dataset is that it includes instructions for completion of the tools, as there are some controversies in this area. The MinDS includes four elements: Charlson Co-morbidity Index (CCI), G8 Geriatric Assessment Screening Tool, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), and Social Situation.
The ETF has collaborated with the EORTC Quality of Life Group in developing an elderly specific tool, the QLQ-ELD14 scale. This quality of life scale is already integrated in some elderly studies.
The ETF is also active in developing specific methodology for clinical trials in the elderly. Two papers regarding standardization and unmet need of clinical trials in elderly population and the role of aging biomarkers in clinical research and also one paper on treatment recommendations on lung cancer in the elderly were published:
- How to define the “age” of a cancer patient: the value of biological markers of aging (J Geriatr Oncol. 2014; 5(2):204-18).
- Endpoints and trial design in geriatric oncology research: a joint EORTC-Alliance-SIOG Position Paper (J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31(29):3711-8).
- Management of elderly patients with NSCLC; updated expert’s opinion paper: EORTC Elderly Task Force, Lung Cancer Group and International Society for Geriatric Oncology (Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(7):1270-83).
EORTC 75111-10114: Pertuzumab + trastuzumab (PH) versus PH plus metronomic chemotherapy (PHM) in the elderly HER2+ metastatic breast cancer population who may continue on T-DM1 alone following disease progression while on PH/PHM: an open-label multicentre randomized phase II selection trial of the EORTC Elderly Task Force and Breast Cancer Group. This trial started patient enrollment in 2013.
EORTC 1221: Cancer in elderly nursing home residents in Belgium: prospective cohort study including translational research to develop better prognostic tools to help with treatment decision in the elderly. This is a prospective observational translational research study that is conducted by the ETF in a network of nursing homes in Belgium.
Recruitment started in 2014.