Background: Advanced mucinous epithelial ovarian carcinoma (mEOC) has been associated with a worse prognosis than the more common serous epithelial ovarian carcinomas (sEOC), but it remains unclear whether this observation reflects a more aggressive clinical presentation and/or chemoresistance.
Patients and methods: Data from four randomized phase III and one phase II advanced epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) first-line clinical trials were retrospectively collected, yielding 1118 patients with advanced EOC (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stages IIB-IV), 85% of whom were treated with paclitaxel (Taxol)-carboplatin-based chemotherapy.
Results: Based on 786 patients with sEOC and 54 (5%) with mEOC, peritoneal carcinomatosis were more limited in mEOC, which was more frequently stages IIB-IIIB (32% versus 19%, P = 0.001) and had more frequently macroscopic complete resection after initial surgery (50% of stages II-III versus 30%, P = 0.02). In contrast, visceral metastases (stage IV) were more frequent in mEOC (30% versus 15%, P = 0.004). mEOC had a lower response rate to carboplatin-paclitaxel, and shorter progression-free and overall survival rates, for both stage IV and optimally debulked stages II-III patients.
Conclusions: Advanced mEOC appears to be highly chemoresistant and complete resection of peritoneal metastases is unable to reverse its poor prognosis. New therapeutic options are needed.