Surgery Approach May Improve Survival in Ovarian Cancer


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) significantly improves progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival compared with interval cytoreductive surgery alone in patients with advanced ovarian cancer, new research shows.


  • Several randomized controlled trials have shown survival benefits with HIPEC followed by interval cytoreductive surgery in advanced ovarian cancer. Despite the data, the use of HIPEC in clinical practice remains limited.

  • Potential downsides of HIPEC include longer operative time and treatment-related complications.

  • This prospective, multicenter, comparative effectiveness study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of interval cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC vs the surgery alone.

  • The study, conducted at seven Korean Gynecologic Oncology Group institutions, included 196 patients (mean age, 58 years) with stage III or IV ovarian cancer who had received at least three cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC (n = 109) or without HIPEC (n = 87).

  • The researchers reported PFS as well as overall survival and treatment-related toxic effects.


  • During a median follow-up of 28.2 months, 128 patients (65%) had a recurrence and 30 died (15.3%) — 8.3% in the HIPEC group and 24.1% in the non-HIPEC group.

  • Compared with no HIPEC, interval cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC led to a significant improvement in median PFS (22.9 months vs 14.2 months; P = .005) and median overall survival (not reached vs 53 months; P = .002).

  • The frequency of grade 3 or 4 postoperative complications was similar in both groups: 2.8% with HIPEC vs 3.4% without HIPEC.

  • Among patients with recurrence, the frequency of peritoneal recurrence was significantly lower among those who received HIPEC (32.8% vs 64.1% without HIPEC; P = .001).


“We observed a significantly superior survival benefit associated with [interval cytoreductive surgery] with HIPEC, without higher rates of postoperative complications,” the authors concluded, adding that “the survival benefit remained consistent, irrespective of maintenance therapy.”


The study, led by Jung-Yun Lee, MD, PhD, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, was published online September 6 in JAMA Surgery.


The patients were not randomly assigned and the decision to give HIPEC was at the clinician’s discretion, introducing the possibility of selection and treatment bias. The different types of drugs used in HIPEC could result in bias in data interpretation.


The authors report no conflicts of interest. The study had no specific funding.

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