Randomized phase III trial of tamoxifen versus thalidomide in women with biochemical-recurrent-only epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal carcinoma after a complete response to first-line platinum/taxane chemotherapy with an evaluation of serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF): A Gynecologic Oncology Group Study

Gynecol Oncol. 2010 Dec;119(3):444-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


Purpose: To compare progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and toxicities of thalidomide versus tamoxifen and to evaluate serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in biochemical-recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer or fallopian tube carcinoma (EOC/PPC/FTC).

Methods: Biochemical recurrence was defined as a rising CA-125 exceeding twice the upper limit of normal without evidence of disease as defined by RECIST 1.0 criteria. Women with FIGO stages III and IV, histologically confirmed EOC/PPC/FTC who were free of disease following first-line chemotherapy were randomized to oral thalidomide 200mg daily with escalation to a maximum of 400 mg or tamoxifen 20mg orally twice daily for up to 1 year, progression or adverse effect prohibited further treatment. VEGF was quantified by ELISA in pre and post-treatment serum.

Results: Of the 139 women randomized, 138 were eligible. Interim analysis showed that thalidomide did not reduce the recurrence rate relative to tamoxifen, and the trial was closed. Thalidomide versus tamoxifen was associated with a similar risk of progression (HR = 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.93-1.85), an increased risk of death (HR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.16-2.68) and more grades 3 and 4 toxicities (55% versus 3%). The most common grades 3 and 4 toxicities were constitutional (12%), somnolence (12%), pulmonary (9%), venous thromboembolism (VTE) (6%) and peripheral neurologic (6%) for thalidomide, with VTE (1.4%) and gastrointestinal (1.4%) for tamoxifen. Serum VEGF was not associated with clinical characteristics, treatment, PFS or OS.

Conclusion: Thalidomide was not more effective than tamoxifen in delaying recurrence or death but was more toxic. VEGF was not prognostic in this cohort.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Bridged-Ring Compounds / administration & dosage
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / blood
  • Fallopian Tube Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / blood
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / blood
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Tamoxifen / adverse effects
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use*
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Thalidomide / adverse effects
  • Thalidomide / therapeutic use*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Bridged-Ring Compounds
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Taxoids
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Tamoxifen
  • taxane
  • Thalidomide