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Gynecol Obstet (Sunnyvale). 2016 Aug;6(8). pii: 397. Epub 2016 Aug 31.

Chemotherapy for Elderly Ovarian Cancer Patients.

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Internal Medicine Residency Program, Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT, USA.
Section of Medical Oncology, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale Cancer Center, New Haven CT, USA.
Cancer Center of South Florida, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA.
Section of Gynecologic Oncology, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale Cancer Center, New Haven CT, USA.



Ovarian cancer is the most lethal cancer involving the female pelvic reproductive system. Its incidence increases with age and with an aging population, its prevalence should also increase. The goal of our retrospective study is to report our experience in treating women over 65 years of age, with a diagnosis of primary ovarian cancer, using standard intravenous chemotherapy.


The medical records of 78 patients>65 years of age diagnosed with primary ovarian cancer at the Yale Cancer Center between 1996-2006 were retrospectively reviewed and included in our analysis. Patients had stage I-IV disease (stage I n=5, stage II n=8, stage III n=36, stage IV n=25, unknown n=4).


Sixty-three of 78 women (80.8%) completed the prescribed regimen; and 62 women did not require a dose reduction or chemotherapy discontinuation. The most common reason for a dose reduction or treatment discontinuation was fatigue (6.4%), neutropenia (2.6%), patient preference (2.6%), and multiple co-morbidities (2.6%). The most commonly used regimen was paclitaxel 175mg/m2 and carboplatin AUC 5. The hazard ratio for PFS and OS for patients who had dose reduction/discontinuation versus those who completed the prescribed dose was 1.3 (95% CI 0.51-3.26) and 0.63 (95% CI 0.17-2.33), respectively.


Our findings illustrate that elderly women are able to tolerate standard chemotherapy with relatively few significant adverse effects. While different treatment modalities in ovarian cancer are continually being evaluated, additional prospective studies are required to better understand the tolerability and efficacy of such treatment in the elderly population.


Carboplatin; Chemotherapy; Elderly; Malignancy; Ovarian cancer; Paclitaxel; Tolerability

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