Background: Krukenberg tumor (KT) is a rare secondary ovarian tumor, primarily localized at the gastrointestinal tract in most cases. KT is related to severe prognosis due to its aggressiveness, diagnostic difficulties and poor treatment efficacy. Several treatments have been used, such as cytoreductive surgery (CRS), adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) and/or hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). To date, it is still unclear which treatment or combination of treatments is related to better survival.
Objective: To assess the most effective therapeutic protocol in terms of overall survival (OS).
Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed by searching MEDLINE, Scopus, EMBASE, ClinicalTrial.gov, OVID, Web of Sciences, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar for all studies assessing the association of treatments with OS in KTs. The effectiveness of each treatment protocol was evaluated by comparing the OS between patients treated with different treatment protocols.
Results: Twenty retrospective studies, with a total sample size of 1533 KTs, were included in the systematic review. Therapeutic protocols used were CRS in 18 studies, CT in 13 studies, HIPEC in 7 studies, neoadjuvant CT in 2 studies, and some combinations of these in 6 studies. Seven studies showed that CRS significantly improved OS compared to other treatments or association of treatments without it. 11 studies showed that CRS without residual (R0 CRS) had a significantly better OS than CRS with residual (R + CRS). Five studies showed that CT significantly improved OS, but other five showed it did not. Two studies showed that HIPEC in association with CRS improved OS, while another study showed that efficacy of HIPEC was comparable to CT. Two studies evaluated neoadjuvant CT, but results were conflicting.
Conclusion: CRS and in particular R0 CRS are the treatments showing the clearest results in improving OS in KT patients. Results about CT are conflicting. HIPEC appears effective both alone and in combination with CRS, and also related to fewer adverse effect than CT. The usefulness of neoadjuvant CT is still unclear. The association of R0 CRS with HIPEC seems to be the most effective and safe therapeutic protocol for KT patients.
Keywords: Cancer; Management; Metastasis; Prognosis; Therapy; hazard ratio; oncology.