Cancer and Aging Research Program

The number of older patients with cancer and surviving cancer is rapidly growing because the U.S. population is aging with a projected doubling in the number of patients 65 and older by 2030. Although the majority of cancers occur in older adults, these patients have been under-represented in national cancer clinical trials, which set the standards for oncology care. Few studies have specifically focused on the unique issues which face older adults such as the impact of age related declines in physiology, polypharmacy or comorbid medical conditions on treatment tolerance.
Arti Hurria, M.D. leads City of Hope's Cancer and Aging Research Program, the mission of which is to join investigators from all cancer disciplines to study biology, treatment and survivorship issues that face older adults with cancer. The results of this research will be applicable to the majority of patients with cancer because approximately 60 percent of cancer diagnoses and 70 percent of cancer mortality occur in patients over the age of 65. 
Science to Meet a Critical Need
City of Hope is home to one of the few specialized research programs designed to meet the unique needs of older adults with cancer. This is a crucial area of study that will only grow in the coming years.
  • Between 2010 and 2030, cancer incidence is expected to rise 67 percent in those age 65 or older, compared to 11 percent for those under age 65.
  • Approximately 60 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 65 years or older.
  • Older adults with cancer are underrepresented in the clinical trials that shape national standards for cancer care.

Older Adults Are Unique
Not all 70-year-olds are alike. Chronological age does not tell the whole story. The team of Arti Hurria, M.D., has developed a comprehensive assessment to determine the functional age of older adults, therefore enabling a more tailored approach to cancer care.
  • Utilizing the information gathered during the assessment, a score can be determined to predict which older adults will be at increased risk for chemotherapy side effects. Knowing which patients may suffer an increased risk of side effects could influence treatment decisions made by doctors and patients.
  • Older adults typically have other medical conditions that need to be considered when choosing the type of therapy.
  • Older adults often take several prescribed medications. A careful medication review needs to be performed in order to understand which can interact with cancer treatment.
  • Older adults may have different preferences regarding treatments, taking into account the side effects of various treatment options and the impact of therapy on their ability to live independently.
Clinical Trials
City of Hope's aggressive pursuit to discover better ways to help patients now – not years from now – places us among the leaders worldwide in the administration of clinical trials. Find out more about City of Hope's Clinical Trials.
Cancer and Aging Research Program's Clinical Trials