Randomized phase 3 trial of interferon gamma-1b plus standard carboplatin/paclitaxel versus carboplatin/paclitaxel alone for first-line treatment of advanced ovarian and primary peritoneal carcinomas: results from a prospectively designed analysis of progression-free survival

Gynecol Oncol. 2008 May;109(2):174-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.01.005. Epub 2008 Mar 7.


Objectives: Interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) is a pleiotropic cytokine with antiproliferative, immunostimulatory, and chemosensitization properties. This trial was designed to evaluate IFN-gamma 1b plus carboplatin and paclitaxel in treatment-naive ovarian cancer (OC) and primary peritoneal carcinoma (PPC) patients.

Methods: Eligible patients were randomized to 6 cycles of carboplatin/paclitaxel every 3 weeks or the same in combination with IFN-gamma 1b (100 microg 3x/wk subcutaneously). The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS) time (target hazard ratio (HR)=0.77). Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (target HR=0.7), based on blinded review of serial imaging scans, physical exams, and CA-125 levels.

Results: 847 patients were enrolled (OC 774, PPC 73) in Europe (n=539) and North/South America (n=308) from January 29, 2002 to March 31, 2004 and stratified according to: optimal debulking (n=271) versus suboptimal debulking with plans for interval debulking (PID) (n=238) or no PID (n=338). The study stopped early following a protocol-defined second interim analysis which revealed significantly shorter OS time in patients receiving IFN-gamma 1b plus chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone (1138 days vs. not estimable, HR=1.45, 95% CI=1.15-1.83). At the time of the analysis, 169 of 426 (39.7%) patients in the IFN-gamma 1b plus chemotherapy group had died compared to 128 of 421 (30.4%) in the chemotherapy alone group. Serious adverse events were more common in the IFN-gamma 1b plus chemotherapy group (48.5% vs. 35.4%), primarily due to a higher incidence of serious hematological toxicities (34.5% vs. 22.7%).

Conclusions: Treatment with IFN-gamma 1b in combination with carboplatin/paclitaxel does not have a role in the first-line treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / physiopathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / administration & dosage
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel