Background: The hypothesis that patients who primarily progress on two consecutive chemotherapy regimens without evidence of clinical benefit may opt for supportive care was investigated. The purpose was to determine the quality of life in recurrent ovarian cancer patients choosing to receive salvage chemotherapy in addition to supportive care or palliative care alone. A secondary objective was to evaluate factors that affect quality of life in ovarian cancer patients.
Materials and methods: A descriptive study was conducted in patients who had histological confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer and failed to respond to at least one regimen of chemotherapy, coming for treatment at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand over a six-month period from August 2012-March 2013. Each patient was asked to complete the FACT-G and a general personal questionnaire. The median quality of life score was analyzed. The Mann Whitney U Test was used to compare the difference between salvage chemotherapy and palliative care groups, and the Kruskal Wallis was used to evaluate other variables.
Results: Thirty-eight ovarian cancer patients were identified who failed to respond to chemotherapy. Of the 38, 30 chose salvage chemotherapy and eight palliative care for further treatment. By histology the carcimnomas were predominantly endometrioid subtype and poorly differentiated. The majority of patients in this study had FIGO stage III, and ECOG status 0-1. The median quality of life score was 76.3 (35.8-94.0), with no significant differences between the groups. Factors associated with the quality of life were the ECOG score and number of chemotherapeutic courses.
Conclusions: In the setting of refractory or recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer, patients who receive salvage chemotherapy have comparable quality of life scores with patients treated with palliative care alone, providing a contrast with previous studies.