Adjuvant Chemotherapy Does Not Lead to Better Survival In Certain Ovarian Cancers

(October 13, 2017) The National Comprehensive Cancer Network currently recommends that early stage Ovarian Clear Cell Cancers be treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, or therapy given after the primary treatment as a way to lower the risk of recurrence. However, a retrospective study published recently in Annals of Oncology found that treating stage I endometrioid epithelial ovarian cancer (EEOC) or stage I ovarian clear cell cancer (OCCC) with adjuvant chemotherapy had no effect on survival outcomes in comparison to those who were not given adjuvant chemotherapy.

The study looked at a total of 5,547 patients with either stage I EEOC or stage I OCCC; 69% of the OCCC patients and 45% of the EEOC patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. The 5 year overall survival rate for OCCC patients with adjuvant chemotherapy was 85% while those who were not given adjuvant chemotherapy had an 83% survival rate. For EEOC patients given adjuvant chemotherapy the rate was 90% while those without the treatment had an 89% 5 year survival rate.

Although adjuvant chemotherapy didn’t effect overall survival in those groups, one group of patients did benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy: EEOC patients in substage IC, grade 3. Their 5 year overall survival rate was 81% in comparison to those who did not receive the treatment. The authors added that their study highlights the importance of large clinical trials that focus on rare epithelial ovarian cancers. “Such trials can focus on the discovery of new biomarkers to predict individual response to standard chemotherapy and to determine actionable mutations for novel targeted agents.”

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