Objective: If maximum cytoreductive surgery benefits the survival of women with advanced ovarian cancer, the median survival time of groups of such women will improve as the proportion of women undergoing maximum cytoreductive surgery is increased.
Study design: Fifty-eight suitable studies that encompass 6962 patients with advanced ovarian cancer were identified. Multiple linear regression was used to analyze the effects on median survival time of the following variables: the proportion of each cohort undergoing maximum cytoreductive surgery, the use of platinum-containing chemotherapy, the dose intensity of chemotherapy, the proportion of each cohort with stage IV disease, and the year of publication of the study.
Results: Maximum cytoreductive surgery was associated with only a small improvement in median survival time, but platinum-containing chemotherapy improved median survival time substantially. Increased dose intensity also conferred a useful survival benefit.
Conclusion: Cytoreductive surgery probably has only a small effect on the survival of women with advanced ovarian cancer. The type of chemotherapy used is more important.