Seminars in oncology vol:27 issue:3 Suppl 7 pages:31-6
Primary surgical cytoreduction followed by chemotherapy usually is the preferred management of advanced (stage III or IV) ovarian cancer. The presence of residual disease after surgery is one of the most important adverse prognostic factors for survival. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has been proposed as an alternative approach to conventional surgery as initial management of bulky ovarian cancer, with the goal of improving surgical quality. Since 1989, we have been treating advanced epithelial ovarian cancer with neoadjuvant chemotherapy instead of primary cytoreductive surgery in approximately half of the patients with stage III-IV disease. Selection of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was based on disease-related characteristics (eg, metastatic tumor load, stage of disease, performance status). Since 1993, open laparoscopy also has been used to aid in evaluating operability. A retrospective analysis of 338 patients was conducted to compare outcomes during 1989 to 1998, when neoadjuvant chemotherapy was used, with those observed during 1980 to 1988, when all patients underwent primary cytoreductive surgery. Crude 3-year survival rates were higher and postoperative mortality rates were lower during the second time period compared with the first. Overall, the results suggest that neoadjuvant chemotherapy results in survival rates in selected patients with advanced ovarian cancer that are comparable with those associated with primary cytoreductive surgery. Patients with stage IV disease, total metastatic tumor load greater than 1,000 g, uncountable plaque-shaped peritoneal metastases, and/or a poor performance status are probably the best candidates for this alternative approach. A prospective randomized study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and primary cytoreductive surgery is ongoing.