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Improved Survival with Immediate Chemotherapy Following Surgery in Ovarian Cancer

Chemotherapy delivered within 25 days following surgery significantly improves survival among some women with ovarian cancer. These results were recently presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Gynecologic Oncology.

Ovarian cancer is often treated initially with surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Following surgery, patients are often treated with chemotherapy in an attempt to kill cancer cells remaining in the body.

Results from studies have suggested that a delay in chemotherapy delivery following surgery can negatively affect outcomes in women with ovarian cancer. Therefore, researchers are attempting to determine the optimal time from surgery in which to initiate chemotherapy in order to improve outcomes in this disease.

Researchers affiliated with the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) recently reviewed data obtained from a large clinical trial (GOG 218) that compared different treatment regimens in ovarian cancer. This trial included over 1,700 patients with newly diagnosed, advanced ovarian cancer. All patients underwent surgery followed by one of three different treatment regimens, all including chemotherapy.

Overall survival was significantly improved if patients started chemotherapy within 25 days of surgery, regardless of which treatment they received.
Women achieving the greatest survival benefit from receiving chemotherapy within 25 days of surgery were those with microscopic residual disease (only microscopic amounts of cancer detected following surgery).
The researchers suggested that initiation of chemotherapy within 25 days of surgery significantly improves survival among women with ovarian cancer, particularly those with microscopic residual.

Reference: Eskander R, Java J, Tewari K, Burger R, Monk B. Negative survival impact associated with >25 day interval from surgical cytoreduction to initiation of systemic therapy in advanced ovarian carcinoma: A Gynecologic Oncology Group ancillary data study. Proceedings from the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Gynecologic Oncology. Abstract 56.