Older patients (65 years and over) represent the majority of patients with a cancer diagnosis. For oesophageal carcinomas, the age peak is in the seventh to eighth decade of life. In gastric carcinoma, 1/3 of patients are older than 75 years and approximately 45 % of colon carcinoma patients are ≥ 75 years old.Due to existing comorbidities, age-related changes and polypharmacy, older patients present a special challenge in tumor therapy.In studies, these patients are usually clearly under-represented and “elderly”-studies are rare.New surgical procedures with laparoscopy and also robotic provide advantages for esophageal and gastric carcinoma, which in the future can reduce postoperative morbidity in relation to cardiac and pulmonary complications for old and older patients. The selection of suitable patients is essential here.With regard to chemotherapy, fluoropyrimidines and oxaliplatin are well tolerated; triplet therapies should be avoided. Immunotherapy in particular offers an interesting alternative to standard chemotherapy due to its better side effect profile.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.