Objective: To describe the outcomes of surgical management of bowel obstruction in relapsed epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) so as to define the criteria for patient selection for palliative surgery.
Methods: 90 women with relapsed EOC underwent palliative surgery for bowel obstruction between 1992 and 2008.
Results: Median age at time of surgery for bowel obstruction was 57 years (range, 26 to 85 years). All patients had received at least one line of platinum-based chemotherapy. Median time from diagnosis of primary disease to documented bowel obstruction requiring surgery was 19.5 months (range, 29 days-14 years). Median interval from date of completed course of chemotherapy preceding surgery for bowel obstruction was 3.8 months (range, 5 days-14 years). Ascites was present in 38/90(42%). 49/90(54%) underwent emergency surgery for bowel obstruction. The operative mortality and morbidity rates were 18% and 27%, respectively. Successful palliation, defined as adequate oral intake at least 60 days postoperative, was achieved in 59/90(66%). Only the absence of ascites was identified as a predictor for successful palliation (p=0.049). The median overall survival (OS) was 90.5 days (range, <1 day-6 years). Optimal debulking, treatment-free interval (TFI) and elective versus emergency surgery did not predict survival or successful palliation from surgery for bowel obstruction (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Surgery for bowel obstruction in relapsed EOC is associated with a high morbidity and mortality rate especially in emergency cases when compared to other gynaecological oncological procedures. Palliation can be achieved in almost two thirds of cases, is equally likely in elective and emergency cases but is less likely in those with ascites.
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