For patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, the goals of chemotherapy include palliation of disease-related symptoms with minimum treatment-related side effects. However, there is currently a paucity of data regarding the initiation of palliative chemotherapy. This study aimed to compare the differences in survival rates and toxicities between patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who started palliative chemotherapy immediately versus those who received delayed chemotherapy. Through a retrospective chart review, patients who received more than three lines of chemotherapy were included. Based on the timing of third-line chemotherapy initiation, the patients were divided into two groups: delayed (DTG) and immediate (ITG) treatment groups. The chi-square test or Fisher’s exact tests, and t-test or Mann-Whitney U test were used for comparing variables, as appropriate. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis. P-value of <0.05 was considered significant. Although there was no statistically significant difference, the total number of regimens and cycles was lower in the DTG than in the ITG. No differences in toxicities and survival rates were observed between the two groups. Overall, survival and toxicity did not differ significantly between the two groups. In a palliative care setting, our findings suggest that delaying the treatment had no adverse effect on survival. Despite the lack of evidence of a survival benefit with aggressive treatment, patients chose to continue chemotherapy. Because recurrent ovarian cancer is a complex condition, patients require sufficient explanation and time to fully understand the costs and benefits related to aggressive chemotherapy.

References

PubMed