Chemo before surgery benefits patients with advanced ovarian cancer
20 May 2015
Women with advanced ovarian cancer have fewer side effects and tend to have a better quality of life if given chemotherapy before surgery, according to a Cancer Research UK funded study published in The Lancet.
The CHORUS trial, conducted at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU) at UCL, challenged the international standard for treating advanced ovarian cancer.
550 women with the disease took part in the trial, with 276 given the standard treatment of surgery followed by six cycles of chemotherapy, and 274 had surgery after three cycles of chemotherapy.
The Cancer Research UK funded trial found that post-surgery complications and death within 28 days of surgery was most common among women given surgery first. Women who received delayed surgery suffered fewer symptoms, a reduction in overall side effects and had a lower death rate.
Delaying surgery also reduced the amount of time the patient spent in the hospital after surgery - a benefit to both the patient and NHS resources.
The CHORUS trial is the largest surgical trial of its kind in the UK and second largest in the world. It aimed to see if this new treatment strategy was a good alternative to the traditional approach.
CHORUS is the result of many years' work at a large number of centres across the UK. It is this sort of collaborative effort that provides the best clinical evidence and will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for patients.
Professor Sean Kehoe, study author and professor of gynaecological cancer at the University of Birmingham, said: "The trial showed that shrinking the tumour before surgery reduced side effects and hospital stay - meaning improved quality of life, without compromising survival, which is better for patients. We are so thankful to the women who took part in the trial and their families, as we couldn't have done this important research without them. Because of their generosity we can improve the lives of others."
Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death amongst gynaecological cancers and the fifth most common cause of cancer death among women in the UK.
Lead author Matthew Nankivell (MRC CTU at UCL) said: "CHORUS is the result of many years' work at a large number of centres across the UK. It is this sort of collaborative effort that provides the best clinical evidence and will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for patients."
- Research paper in The Lancet
- Matthew Nankivell's academic profile on IRIS
- Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
- Medical Research Council
- Cancer Research UK
- Eve Appeal
- Chemotherapy machine (courtesy of Linus Ekenstam on Flickr)
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Email: h.dayantis [at] ucl.ac.uk