Evolution of platinum resistance in high-grade serous ovarian cancer

Lancet Oncol. 2011 Nov;12(12):1169-74. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70123-1.


High-grade serous ovarian cancers account for most ovarian-cancer mortality. Although this disease initially responds well to platinum-based chemotherapy, relapse and progression to chemotherapy resistance are frequently seen. Time to relapse after first-line therapy is a predictor of response to secondary platinum treatment: more than 12 months is associated with high chance of a secondary response, whereas relapses within 6 months generally indicate platinum resistance. In this Personal View we discuss whether patterns of response, relapse, and the development of drug resistance in high-grade serous ovarian cancers are related to distinct underlying molecular and cellular biological characteristics. In particular, we propose that rapid relapse with platinum-resistant disease is due to minor subpopulations of intrinsically resistant cancer cells at presentation.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / pathology
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / adverse effects
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Platinum Compounds / adverse effects
  • Platinum Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Failure


  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Platinum Compounds