BACKGROUND: With extending life expectancy, more people are diagnosed with cutaneous malignancies at advanced ages and are offered nonsurgical treatment. We assessed outcomes of the oldest-old adults after electrochemotherapy (ECT).
METHODS: The International Network for Sharing Practices of ECT (InspECT) registry was queried for adults aged ≥90 years (ys) with skin cancers/cutaneous metastases of any histotype who underwent bleomycin-ECT (2006-2019). These were subanalysed with patients aged <90 ys after matching 1:2 for tumor location, number, size, histotype, and previous treatments. We assessed ECT modalities, toxicity (CTCAE), response (RECIST), and patient perception (EQ-5D).
RESULTS: Sixty-one patients represented the study cohort (median 92 ys, range 92-104), 122 the control group (median 77 ys, range 23-89). Among the oldest-old, 44 patients (72%) had primary/recurrent skin cancers, 17 (28%) cutaneous metastases. Median tumour size was 15 mm (range, 5-450). The oldest-old adults underwent ECT mainly under local/regional anaesthesia (59% vs 39% p = .012). We observed no differences regarding dose and route of chemotherapy (intravenous vs intratumoral, p = .308), electrode geometry (linear vs hexagonal, p = .172) and procedural duration (18 vs 21 min, p = .378). Complete response (57.4 [95%-CI 44.1%-70.0%] vs 64.7% [95%-CI 55.6%-73.2%], p = .222) and 1-year local control (76.7% vs 81.7, p = .092) rates were comparable. Pain and skin hyperpigmentation were mild in both groups. Skin ulceration persisted longer in the oldest-old patients (4.4 vs 2.4 months, p = .008).
CONCLUSIONS: The oldest-old adults with cutaneous malignancies undergo ECT most commonly under local/regional anaesthesia with safety profiles and clinical effectiveness similar to their younger counterparts, except in case of ulcerated tumors.