Liposomal anthracycline treatment for ovarian cancer

Semin Oncol. 2004 Dec;31(6 Suppl 13):91-105. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2004.08.004.


Platinum/taxane regimens induce high response rates and prolong survival in women with ovarian cancer. After recurrence, however, response to second-line chemotherapy is limited. Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil/Caelyx [PLD]), is the only liposomal anthracycline indicated for second-line treatment of platinum- and paclitaxel-refractory ovarian cancer. Response rates ranged from 14% to 20% in nonrandomized trials of this patient population. In a large phase 3 randomized trial, single-agent PLD and topotecan had similar efficacy overall in response rates, but PLD-treated patients had significantly improved overall survival compared with topotecan with a pronounced advantage in platinum-sensitive patients. Another randomized trial reported that PLD and paclitaxel were comparable with regards to response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival, regardless of the degree of platinum sensitivity. Additional nonrandomized trials of PLD in combination with other active agents resulted in response rates ranging from 20% to 76%. PLD is generally well tolerated and its side-effect profile compares favorably with other commonly used chemotherapeutic agents in this clinical setting. Proper dosing and monitoring may further enhance tolerability while preserving the efficacy of this versatile agent for ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage*
  • Epirubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liposomes
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Platinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Liposomes
  • Platinum Compounds
  • Taxoids
  • Epirubicin
  • Doxorubicin