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Eur J Cancer. 1991;27(11):1367-72.

Long-term survival in ovarian cancer. Mature data from The Netherlands Joint Study Group for Ovarian Cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Utrecht University Hospital, The Netherlands.


In two studies initiated in 1979 and 1981, 377 patients were treated for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. In the first study patients were randomly assigned to receive Hexa-CAF (hexamethylmelamine, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil) or CHAP-5 (cyclophosphamide, hexamethylmelamine, doxorubicin, cisplatin for 5 days) and in the second study to receive CHAP-5 or CP (cyclophosphamide, cisplatin on 1 day). Patients who did not respond to Hexa-CAF were offered subsequent treatment that included cisplatin. Median follow-up of patients in the first study was 9.5 years and in the second study 7.7 years. At 10 years 9% of the patients initially treated with Hexa-CAF and 21% of patients assigned to CHAP-5 were alive. Among the 10-year survivors treated with Hexa-CAF, 50% had experienced progressive disease but were alive as a result of retreatment with a cisplatin regimen. The survival curves of both studies revealed that approximately 60% of the patients who reached a complete remission were alive at 5 years and 40% at 10 years. Patients with microscopic disease at second-look had a less favourable outlook: 35% survived 5 years. Not recognised at first publication of both studies was the influence of tumour grade on survival. Before 5 years of follow-up, the good prognosis of grade 1 tumours (well differentiated) could not be detected. About 50% of patients with grade 1 tumours were alive at 5 and 30% at 10 years while these survival rates were halved for the other grades. Combination chemotherapy with cisplatin can enhance survival by more than 10% at 5 and 10 years compared with the best treatment of the precisplatin era: Hexa-CAF.

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