The role of interval debulking surgery in ovarian cancer

Curr Oncol Rep. 2003 Nov;5(6):473-81. doi: 10.1007/s11912-003-0008-8.


The mainstay of treatment for advanced ovarian cancer is the multimodality approach of debulking surgery and paclitaxel--platinum chemotherapy. The size of residual lesions after primary surgery remains the most important prognostic factor for survival. Optimal primary debulking surgery can be performed in approximately 40% of patients and up to 80% if it is done by gynecologic oncologists, but sometimes at the cost of considerable morbidity and even mortality. Based on a trial conducted by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, optimal as well as suboptimal interval debulking surgery increases overall (P=0.0032) and progression-free survival (P=0.0055). However, not all patients who have undergone suboptimal primary debulking surgery seem to benefit from interval debulking surgery. Preliminary data from the Gynecologic Oncology Group interval debulking study (GOG-152) indicate that, if the gynecologic oncologist makes a maximal effort to resect the tumor, patients who have undergone suboptimal debulking surgery probably gain little benefit from interval debulking surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Women's Health


  • Paclitaxel
  • Cisplatin