Role of surgical outcome as prognostic factor in advanced epithelial ovarian cancer: a combined exploratory analysis of 3 prospectively randomized phase 3 multicenter trials: by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Gynaekologische Onkologie Studiengruppe Ovarialkarzinom (AGO-OVAR) and the Groupe d'Investigateurs Nationaux Pour les Etudes des Cancers de l'Ovaire (GINECO)

Cancer. 2009 Mar 15;115(6):1234-44. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24149.


Background: Primary surgery followed by platinum-taxane based chemotherapy has been the standard therapy in advanced ovarian cancer. However, the prognostic role of complete and so-called optimal and suboptimal debulking and its interaction with biological factors has not been not fully defined.

Methods: Exploratory analysis was conducted of 3 prospective randomized trials (AGO-OVAR 3, 5, and 7) investigating platinum-taxane based chemotherapy regimens in advanced ovarian cancer conducted between 1995 and 2002.

Results: A total of 3126 patients were analyzed. Approximately one-third each fulfilled criteria for complete resection (group A), small residual tumor burden of 1-10 mm (group B), or macroscopic residual disease exceeding 1 cm in diameter (group C). Multivariate analysis showed improved progression-free and overall survival for group A with complete resection compared with groups B or C (P<.0001). The impact of so-called optimal debulking as in group B showed a smaller prognostic impact compared with group C. Further independent prognostic factors for overall survival were age, performance status, grade, FIGO stage, and histology, namely the mucinous subtype. An interaction between residual tumor and some biologic factors was demonstrated.

Conclusions: The goal of primary surgery should be complete resection. The prognostic impact of tumor biology seemed to be partially overruled by residual tumor and further evaluation of biologic factors should stratify for residual tumor.

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 Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm, Residual / pathology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Platinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Platinum Compounds
  • Paclitaxel