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Clinical trial changes protocol for advanced ovarian cancer treatment

For women with advanced ovarian cancer, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) now encourages post-surgery treatment with anticancer drugs via two methods. These combined methods, which deliver drugs into a vein and directly into the abdomen, extend overall survival by about a year.

The University of Minnesota participated in the NCI-supported clinical trials that led to this change in preferred method of treatment.

The two treatment methods are called intravenous (IV), for chemotherapy delivered into a vein, and intraperitoneal (IP), for chemotherapy delivered into the abdominal or peritoneal cavity. The trial involved 429 women with stage III ovarian cancer who were given chemotherapy following the successful surgical removal of tumors. It compared two treatment regimens: 1) administering two anticancer drugs intravenously, one after another, to 2) administering one drug intravenously and the other directly into the abdomen, and subsequently administering the first drug directly into the abdomen.

“The median survival rate was 66 months, or 5.5 years, for women in the study who received the IP/IV therapy for treatment of ovarian cancer compared to 50 months, or about 4.2 years, for women receiving IV therapy,” says Linda Carson, M.D., principal investigator for this study at the University of Minnesota and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health.

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