HealthDay News — For women with recurrent ovarian cancer, overall survival is longer with cytoreductive surgery followed by chemotherapy than with chemotherapy alone, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Philipp Harter, MD, PhD, from the Kliniken Essen-Mitte in Germany, and colleagues randomly assigned 407 patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who had a first relapse after a platinum-free interval of 6 months or more to either secondary cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy or platinum-based chemotherapy alone (206 and 201 patients, respectively). Eligible patients had a positive Arbeitsgemeinschaft Gynäkologische Onkologie (AGO) score, ascites of less than 500 mL, and complete resection at initial surgery.

The researchers found that 75.5% of the patients in the surgery group who underwent the procedure achieved a complete resection. Median overall survival was 53.7 and 46.0 months in the surgery and no-surgery groups, respectively (hazard ratio for death, 0.75). The most favorable outcome was seen for patients with a complete resection, with a median overall survival of 61.9 months. There was no difference observed between the groups in quality-of-life measures through one year of follow-up; no perioperative mortality was seen within 30 days after surgery.

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“The results of the current trial showed a benefit of surgery with respect to progression-free and overall survival, with an acceptable incidence of complications, and without a detrimental effect on quality of life in patients selected for inclusion on the basis of the AGO score,” the authors write.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline and Medac.

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