UPDATE 2-Roche says Xelox cancer drug effective in elderly

* Elderly on Xeloda live longer without colorectal cancer

* Age is biggest risk factor in colorectal cancer

* Roche stock rises 0.7 percent

(Adds analyst comment, shares)

ZURICH, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Roche's ROG.VX cancer drug Xeloda enabled elderly patients being treated for colorectal cancer to live free of the disease for longer, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs said on Thursday.

A study showed that patients above the age of 65 who took Xelox, which is oral Xeloda combined with intravenous oxaliplatin, immediately after surgery lived disease-free for longer compared with those treated with commonly used chemotherapy regimen 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin.

“Elderly patients are an important patient group in the treatment with Xeloda. The drug is approved for metastatic colorectal cancer, adjuvant colon cancer and metastatic breast cancer,” Vontobel analyst Silvia Schanz said in a note.

“We carry peak sales estimates of 1,500-2,000 million,” Schanz said.

At 1513 GMT, the group's stock was trading 0.7 percent higher at 186.20 Swiss francs, largely in line with the European healthcare sector .SXDP

In July, Roche said Xeloda increased the time patients lived when taken with oxaliplatin, meeting its primary goal in a late-stage trial. [ID:nLK41681]

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in men and women in Europe, with nearly 1 million cases each year worldwide, said Roche.

Age is the biggest risk factor for the disease and more than 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50, Roche said. (Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by David Cowell and Karen Foster)