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Gynecol Oncol. 2011 Dec;123(3):461-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.08.030. Epub 2011 Sep 26.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the Medicare cohort with advanced ovarian cancer.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.



The value of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer has yet to be determined. While NAC may facilitate and simplify complete cytoreduction and reduce the risk of surgery, the delay of surgery related to NAC needs to be balanced against any potential benefit.


Surveillance, Epidemiology and End-Results (SEER) data linked to Medicare claims were used to identify 6844 women with treated stage III/IV epithelial ovarian cancer (1995-2005). Patients were classified by primary treatment (surgery (PDS) or chemotherapy), and the primary chemotherapy group was characterized as having NAC or palliative chemotherapy (PC) based on whether there was documentation that surgery was recommended. We compared surgical complications and survival between the groups.


4827 (71%) of women were treated with PDS, 958 received NAC (14%) and 1059 (15%) had PC. Only 577 (60%) of women with NAC underwent surgery and they had fewer ostomies (8.5% vs. 19.2%, p<0.001) and fewer infections, gastrointestinal and pulmonary complications than PDS (all p<0.01). Comparing NAC to PDS there was a 16% increase in the risk of death at 2years (RR 1.16, 95%CI 1.01-1.34) for women with stage III disease and a 15% reduction in the risk for women with stage IV disease (RR 0.85, 95%CI 0.73-0.99).


NAC followed by surgery was associated with fewer surgical complications than PDS. The direction and magnitude of the difference in survival between women receiving NAC and those receiving PDS differed according to the stage of disease and follow up time.

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