Neoadjuvant chemotherapy lessens surgical morbidity in advanced ovarian cancer and leads to improved survival in stage IV disease

Gynecol Oncol. 2007 Apr;105(1):211-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2006.11.025. Epub 2007 Jan 18.


Objectives: To compare the survival and peri-operative morbidities of patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC, stage IIIC and IV) who were treated with primary debulking surgery (PDS) followed by adjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy, or neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by cytoreductive surgery (NAC).

Methods: 172 patients with advanced EOC diagnosed at YNHH (1998-2005) were retrospectively reviewed. 109 patients were treated with PDS and 63 patients were treated with NAC [37 received carboplatin/paclitaxel (CP), 26 received carboplatin/cyclophosphamide (CC)].

Results: NAC patients had significantly less intra-operative blood loss, operating time, units of transfusion, and shorter hospital stay (p<0.05). Optimal cytoreduction was achieved in 95% NAC patients, versus 71% of PDS group (p<0.001). Three patients in the NAC group (5%) versus 27 patients (25%) in the PDS group required aggressive surgery in addition to standard cytoreduction. Within the NAC group, overall survival (OS) is improved in patients who received CP compared to CC (83 vs. 26 months, p=0.008). Patients with extra-abdominal disease who received CP as NAC had improved progression-free survival (PFS) and OS when compared to the PDS group with stage IV disease (15 vs. 9 months, p=0.015; 31 vs. 20 months, p=0.032, respectively).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that NAC is associated with less peri-operative morbidity, less need for further aggressive surgery, and similar survival. Additionally, in patients with extra-abdominal disease, NAC is associated with an improved PFS and OS. Therapy with platinum and taxane should be the treatment of choice in NAC.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel