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Minerva Ginecologica 2006 October;58(5):393-403


language: English

The position of neoadjuvant chemotherapy within the treatment of ovarian cancer

Van Gorp T., Amant F., Neven P., Berteloot P., Leunen K., Vergote I.

Division of Gynaecological Oncology Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University Hospitals Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


It is clear that primary debulking remains the standard of care within the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer (International Federa-tion of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, FIGO, stage III and IV). Debulking surgery should be performed by a gynaecologic oncologist without any residual tumour load, or so called ‘optimal debulking’. Over the last decades, interest in the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy together with an interval debulking has increased. Open laparoscopy is probably the most valuable tool for evaluating the operability primarily or at the time of interval debulking surgery. Neoadjuvant therapy can be used for patients that are primarily suboptimally debulked due to an extensive tumor load. In this situation, based on the randomized EORTC-GCG trial, interval debulking by an experienced surgeon improves survival in some patients who did not undergo optimal primary debulking surgery. Based on the GOG 152 data, interval debulking surgery does not seem to be indicated in patients who underwent primarily a maximal surgical effort by a gynecological oncologist. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy can also be used as an alternative to primary debulking. In retrospective analyses neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval debulking surgery does not seem to worsen prognosis compared to primary debulking surgery followed by chemotherapy. However, we will have to wait for the results of future randomized trials to know whether neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval debulking surgery is a good alternative to primary debulking surgery in stage IIIc and IV patients.

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