Epithelial ovarian cancer: a review of current management

Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2005 Sep;17(6):399-411. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2005.05.009.


Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer among women worldwide, with 6000 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year. Most women present with advanced disease, but, despite a good initial response to treatment, most relapse. The overall 5-year survival rate is 46%, although this drops to about 13% in women with advanced disease. Transvaginal ultrasound and the tumour marker CA125 are being investigated for screening in ongoing randomised trials. Treatment of ovarian cancer is dependent on clinical stage, and should always be managed within a multidisciplinary team. Most cases will require a pelvic clearance and adjuvant chemotherapy. Current guidelines by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend that first-line chemotherapy should include a platinum-based regimen with or without paclitaxel. Relapsed ovarian cancer is incurable; however, chemotherapy can improve quality of life and survival. Gene therapy, immunotherapy and signal transduction inhibitors are all potential future therapies, and are being investigated in ongoing clinical research. In this paper we review the literature on the epidemiology, pathology, clinical features and the current treatment options in epithelial ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents