Background: Chemotherapy combinations that include an alkylating agent and a platinum coordination complex have high response rates in women with advanced ovarian cancer. Such combinations provide long-term control of disease in few patients, however. We compared two combinations, cisplatin and cyclophosphamide and cisplatin and paclitaxel, in women with ovarian cancer.
Methods: We randomly assigned 410 women with advanced ovarian cancer and residual masses larger than 1 cm after initial surgery to receive cisplatin (75 mg per square meter of body-surface area) with either cyclophosphamide (750 mg per square meter) or paclitaxel (135 mg per square meter over 24 hours).
Results: Three hundred eighty-six women met all the eligibility criteria. Known prognostic factors were similar in the two treatment groups. Alopecia, neutropenia, fever, and allergic reactions were reported more frequently in the cisplatin-paclitaxel group. Among 216 women with measurable disease, 73 percent in the cisplatin-paclitaxel group responded to therapy, as compared with 60 percent in the cisplatin-cyclophosphamide group (P = 0.01). The frequency of surgically verified complete response was similar in the two groups. Progression-free survival was significantly longer (P < 0.001) in the cisplatin-paclitaxel group than in the cisplatin-cyclophosphamide group (median, 18 vs. 13 months). Survival was also significantly longer (P < 0.001) in the cisplatin-paclitaxel group (median, 38 vs. 24 months).
Conclusions: Incorporating paclitaxel into first-line therapy improves the duration of progression-free survival and of overall survival in women with incompletely resected stage III and stage IV ovarian cancer.