Similar Overall Survival Using Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy or Primary Debulking Surgery in Patients Aged Over 75 Years with High-Grade Ovarian Cancer

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2020 Nov;42(11):1339-1345. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2020.04.014. Epub 2020 May 15.


Objective: To perform a hypothesis-generating evaluation of patient outcomes following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) compared with those following primary debulking surgery (PDS) in patients over age 75 with high-grade ovarian cancer.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients aged 75 years and older, with high-grade ovarian cancer. Data were analyzed in SPSS 25.0 using descriptive statistics to characterize groups based on primary treatment modality, Kaplan-Meier survival curves to estimate overall and progression-free survival, and Cox proportional hazards to analyze confounders.

Results: Of 429 patients with stages III and IV high-grade ovarian cancer (endometrioid and serous), 71 were aged older than 75 years and met our criteria for inclusion; 58 were treated with NACT while 13 underwent primary debulking. Sixteen patients did not undergo interval debulking following NACT. There were no significant differences in demographic characteristics between the groups. Following NACT, more patients were completely debulked-36.2% versus 21% (P = 0.000)-and had a shorter length of stay (5 vs. 7 d; P = 0.018). Overall survival was similar between the NACT and PDS groups (58.7 vs. 59.7 mo; LR -0.836; P = 0.361) despite lower progression-free survival in the NACT group (25.9 vs. 47.1 mo; P = 0.042; LR 4.31). Both progression-free and overall survival were significantly higher when patients undergoing NACT achieved complete debulking (21.7 and 102.3 mo, respectively) compared with suboptimal debulking (12.03 and 14.2 mo, respectively).

Conclusion: In this select group older patients with stage III and IV high-grade ovarian cancers, neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be considered without compromising outcomes and contributes to complete debulking.

Keywords: age factors; chemotherapy, adjuvant; cytoreduction surgical procedures; neoadjuvant therapy; ovarian neoplasm.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / surgery*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant*
  • Cytoreduction Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / blood
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • CA-125 Antigen
  • MUC16 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins