Variability in chemotherapy delivery for elderly women with advanced stage ovarian cancer and its impact on survival

Br J Cancer. 2008 Apr 8;98(7):1197-203. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604298. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Given the survival benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer (OC), we examined the associations of survival with the time interval from debulking surgery to initiation of chemotherapy and with the duration of chemotherapy. Among patients > or =65 years with stages III/IV OC diagnosed between 1991 and 2002 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database, we developed regression models of predictors of the time interval from surgery to initiation of chemotherapy and of the total duration of chemotherapy. Survival was examined with Cox proportional hazards models. Among 2558 patients, 1712 (67%) initiated chemotherapy within 6 weeks of debulking surgery, while 846 (33%) began treatment >6 weeks. Older age, black race, being unmarried, and increased comorbidities were associated with delayed initiation of chemotherapy. Delay of chemotherapy was associated with an increase in mortality (hazard ratio (HR)=1.11; 95% CI, 1.0-1.2). Among 1932 patients in the duration of treatment analysis, the 1218 (63%) treated for 3-7 months had better survival than the 714 (37%) treated for < or =3 months (HR=0.84; 95% CI, 0.75-0.94). This analysis represents one of the few studies describing treatment delivery and outcome in women with advanced OC. Delayed initiation and early discontinuation of chemotherapy were common and associated with increased mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors