Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of age (i.e., less than 65 years or 65 years of age and older) on survival in a recently completed phase III Southwest Oncology Group study in ovarian cancer patients.
Methods: Multivariate and univariate regression analyses were used to identify independent prognostic factors of survival in 342 patients with previously untreated Stage III (suboptimal) or Stage IV ovarian cancer who participated in a randomized, phase III study of intravenous (I.V.) carboplatin 300 mg/m2 plus I.V. cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2 versus I.V. cisplatin 100 mg/m2 plus I.V. cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2 every 4 weeks for six courses.
Results: Multivariate regression analysis showed the following variables to be independent prognostic factors of survival: age (P = 0.04); performance status (P = 0.004); disease stage (P = 0.03); and race (P = 0.05). Patients under 65 years of age survived significantly longer than those 65 years or older, especially patients with a performance status of 2. Patients with a baseline performance status of 0-1 survived longer than patients with a performance status of 2, and Stage III patients longer than those with Stage IV disease. An unexpected finding was that white patients survived significantly longer than black patients, regardless of age, performance status, or stage of disease. Carboplatin-cyclophosphamide-treated patients experienced similar survival and significantly less nausea and emesis, renal toxicity, hearing loss, tinnitus, neuromuscular toxicities, and alopecia.
Conclusions: Ovarian cancer patients with advanced disease who are 65 years of age or older and/or with a performance status of 2 have significantly decreased survival compared to their younger and/or less debilitated counterparts. Carboplatin-cyclophosphamide is the recommended treatment (rather than cisplatin-cyclophosphamide), especially for older or debilitated patients because it is associated with less toxicity and similar survival.