Current opinion in oncology vol:15 issue:6 pages:452-5
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: During 2003, the first randomized trials were published comparing adjuvant platin-based chemotherapy versus no treatment in early epithelial ovarian cancer. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent findings of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Adjuvant ChemoTherapy In Ovarian Neoplasm and International Collaborative Ovarian Neoplasm-1 trials showed an improvement of overall survival of 8% in patients treated with adjuvant platin-based chemotherapy compared with observation. In a subgroup analysis, in 150 optimally surgically staged patients of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Adjuvant ChemoTherapy In Ovarian Neoplasm trial, there appears to be no benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy. In past years, it has been shown that degree of differentiation is a much stronger predictor of recurrence in early ovarian cancer than International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics subclassification (Ia, Ib, Ic). It has also been shown that patients with bilateral tumors (Ib) have the same prognosis as International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics stage Ic patients. SUMMARY: During the past year, it has been shown that platin-based adjuvant chemotherapy improves recurrence-free and overall survival in early epithelial ovarian cancer. It should be emphasized, however, that this was demonstrated in patients in whom the true nature of early stage disease was doubtful in many patients due to incomplete surgical staging. In a subgroup of patients who are optimally surgically staged, adjuvant chemotherapy may be less effective. Theoretically, only a future trial randomizing optimal surgical staging versus adjuvant chemotherapy may be able to provide definitive conclusions, but such a trial would be almost impossible to conduct. In the meantime, optimal staging is advocated in all patients who are fit enough to undergo this procedure. Degree of differentiation should be incorporated in a new International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics classification for stage I disease and in clinical decision making.