Decreased dose density of standard chemotherapy does not compromise survival for ovarian cancer patients

Department of Oncology and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
International Journal of Gynecological Cancer (Impact Factor: 1.95). 01/2008; 18(1):8-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1438.2007.00990.x
Source: PubMed


For women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the standard practice of surgery followed by adjuvant platinum-taxane combination chemotherapy, with cycles administered every 3 weeks, is based on randomized control trials. However, a substantial number of patients require delays or reductions on this schedule. The Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSEO) has historically administered chemotherapy every 4 weeks. We analyzed survival outcomes of our cohort. All ovarian cancer patients treated with chemotherapy at the CCSEO from 1995 to end-2002 were included in this study. Overall survival and progression-free survival were calculated from initiation of chemotherapy using the Kaplan-Meier technique and log-rank tests. Cox regression analysis was used to adjust for age and disease stage. A total of 171 patients were treated with chemotherapy (cisplatin-paclitaxel or carboplatin-paclitaxel), of which 144 received chemotherapy every 4 weeks and 27 every 3 weeks. Median progression-free survival was 19.2 months for the group treated every 4 weeks vs 13.2 months for the 3-weekly group. Median overall survival was 36.5 months compared to 27.1 months, respectively. Trends favored treatment every 4 weeks. In early-stage disease, 5-year overall survival was 74% and 5-year progression-free survival was 68%. Administration of platinum-paclitaxel chemotherapy every 4 weeks did not reduce survival of ovarian cancer patients. Importantly, median survival is favorable compared to results from landmark trials where patients were treated every 3 weeks. These results suggest that decreasing the frequency of chemotherapy cycles does not decrease survival. Prospective trials would be required to compare quality of life and cost-effectiveness.

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