Background: Previously, we have shown that the combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin (CAP) and single-agent carboplatin produce similar survival and progression-free survival rates in women with ovarian cancer. Subsequently, paclitaxel combined with platinum has become a widely accepted treatment for the disease. We aimed to compare the safety and efficacy of paclitaxel plus carboplatin with a control of either CAP or carboplatin alone.
Methods: Between February, 1995, and October, 1998, we enrolled 2074 patients from 130 centres in eight countries. Women were randomly assigned paclitaxel plus carboplatin or control, the control (CAP or single-agent carboplatin) being chosen by the patient and clinician before randomisation. The primary outcome measure was overall survival. Secondary outcomes were progression-free survival and toxicity. Analysis was by intention to treat.
Findings: With a median follow-up of 51 months, 1265 patients had died, and survival curves showed no evidence of a difference in overall survival between paclitaxel plus carboplatin and control (hazard ratio 0.98, 95% CI 0.87-1.10, p=0.74). The median overall survival was 36.1 months on paclitaxel plus carboplatin and 35.4 months on control (difference 0.7 months, 95% CI -3.6 to 4.7). 1538 patients had progressive disease or died, and again, Kaplan-Meier curves showed no evidence of a difference between the groups (hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.84-1.03, p=0.16). Median progression-free survival was 17.3 months on paclitaxel plus carboplatin and 16.1 months on control (difference 1.2 months, 95% CI -0.5 to 2.8). Paclitaxel plus carboplatin caused more alopecia, fever, and sensory neuropathy than carboplatin alone, and more sensory neuropathy than CAP. CAP was associated with more fever than paclitaxel plus carboplatin.
Interpretation: Single-agent carboplatin and CAP are as effective as paclitaxel plus carboplatin as first-line treatment for women requiring chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. The favourable toxicity profile of single-agent carboplatin suggests that this drug is a reasonable option as first-line chemo therapy for ovarian cancer.