Treatment of malignant ascites

Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2008 Jun;9(2-3):215-33. doi: 10.1007/s11864-008-0068-y. Epub 2008 Sep 6.


The management of malignant ascites is a significant challenge in gastrointestinal medical oncology. Current treatment strategies include diuretic therapy, paracentesis, peritoneal drains, and venous shunts. However, there are no established evidence-based guidelines, and there is a lack of randomized controlled trials identifying optimal therapy. Newer therapies are emerging and will need further study. By summarizing published studies, this review is intended to add some clarity to currently available strategies for the management of malignant ascites associated with hepatobiliary cancers. Notably, however, much of the available data for the management of malignant ascites comes from the gynecologic oncology experience, specifically from studies in ovarian cancer. Therefore, successful approaches used in this malignancy may be lead candidates for development in hepatobiliary cancer-associated ascites and are reviewed in this paper.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Ascites / diagnosis
  • Ascites / physiopathology*
  • Ascites / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Medical Oncology / methods
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Research Design
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases