The role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with advanced (stage IIIC) epithelial ovarian cancer
Background. Primary treatment of patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer consists of chemotherapy either before (neoadjuvant chemotherapy, NACT) or after primary surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy). The goal of primary treatment is no residual disease after surgery (R0 resection) what is associated with an improvement in survival of patients. There is, however, no evidence of survival benefits in patients with R0 resections after prior NACT.
Methods. We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients who were treated with diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer at Institute of Oncology Ljubljana in the years 2005–2007. The differences in the rates of R0 resections, progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and in five-year and eight-year survival rates between patients treated with NACT and patients who had primary surgery were compared.
Results. Overall 160 patients had stage IIIC epithelial ovarian cancer. Eighty patients had NACT and eighty patients had primary surgery. Patients in NACT group had higher rates of R0 resection (42% vs. 20%; p = 0.011) than patients after primary surgery. PFS was 14.1 months in NACT group and 17.7 months after primary surgery (p = 0.213). OS was 24.8 months in NACT group and 31.6 months after primary surgery (p = 0.012). In patients with R0 resections five-year and eight-year survival rates were 20.6% and 17.6% in NACT group compared to 62.5% and 62.5% after primary surgery (p < 0.0001), respectively.Conclusions. Despite higher rates of R0 resections achieved by NACT, survival of patients treated with NACT was inferior to survival of patients who underwent primary surgery. NACT should only be offered to patients with advanced epithelial cancer who are not candidates for primary surgery.