Further Evidence Suggesting Survival Associated with Surgeon Experience

Further Evidence Suggesting Survival Associated with Surgeon Experience in Ovarian Cancer.

According to results recently published in Gynecologic Oncology, further data provides additional evidence that women with ovarian cancer have improved survival if treated in a specialized center.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers. Standard treatment depends upon the stage, or extent of spread of the cancer, but typically consists of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.

A crucial component in achieving optimal survival among patients with ovarian cancer is surgical removal of all or the majority of visible cancer, referred to as optimal debulking. Optimal debulking means that only one centimeter or less of visible cancer is left in the body following surgery. Results from studies have indicated that more experienced surgeons provide greater rates of optimal debulking and ultimately improved survival among ovarian cancer patients.

Researchers from Germany recently conducted a clinical trial to further evaluate different prognostic factors and their associated impact on survival among patients with ovarian cancer. This study included data from the OVAR-3 trial, in which 761 patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy. These patients were analyzed for factors that may have affected surgery as well as survival.

  • Patients who underwent surgery in centers with surgeons who performed comprehensive surgical debulking had rates of nearly 33% of debulking surgery compared with only 23% among patients who were not treated in these types of centers.
  • Patients whose surgeons performed comprehensive surgical debulking had significantly improved overall survival.
  • Patients with a greater amount of cancer prior to surgery, more extensive cancer, more advanced age, worse performance status (ability to perform daily functions), and those whose cancer spread to the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) had worse rates of debulking during surgery.

The researchers concluded that these results provide further evidence that patients with ovarian cancer who are treated by surgeons who are more apt to perform complete debulking surgery have significantly improved survival. Patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of debulking surgery.

Reference: Wimberger P, Lehmann N, Kimmig R, et al. Prognostic factors for complete debulking in advanced ovarian cancer and its impact on survival. An exploratory analysis of a prospectively randomized Phase III study of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Gynaekologische Onkologie Ovarian Cancer Study Group (AGO-OVAR). Gynecologic Oncology. 2007; 106: 69-74.

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