Survey: Many With Ovarian Cancer Choose Maintenance Therapy to “Buy Time” for Survival


A recent survey asked patients with primary and recurrent ovarian cancer to consider their reasons for choosing maintenance therapy following surgery and chemotherapy.

Patients who achieve clinical remission after surgery and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer are likely to develop recurrent disease within 2 years. Multiple clinical trials have shown promise with novel drugs to prevent recurrence, but guidelines are still under development.

Jalid Sehouli, MD, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Germany), and colleagues conducted a survey to better understand the reasons behind why many patients with recurrent ovarian cancer choose to undergo maintenance therapy. The survey was disseminated to 1954 patients participating in a randomized double-blind clinical trial, 49.6% of whom had primary ovarian cancer, 36.3% of whom had relapsed ovarian cancer, and 6.9% with unknown disease stage.

Findings from the survey were presented at the European Society of Gynecological Oncology Congress (November 4-7, 2017; Vienna, Austria).

Survey results showed that 50% of patients with recurrent disease and 45% of patients with primary disease chose maintenance therapy to prevent disease progression for 6 months. This expectation was similar in both younger and older patients.

Approximately 30% of patients with primary disease and 20% of patients with recurrent disease expected maintenance therapy to delay disease recurrence by 6 to 12 months, while less than 5% of patients with either disease stage expected progression delay of 24 to 36 months with maintenance therapy. Similarly, age did not factor into these expectations.


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Among the most noted personal objective for choosing a maintenance therapy was to increase the likelihood of effecting a cure (75%), improve quality of life (14%), non-deterioration of quality of life (40%), tumor shrinkage (45% of patients with recurrent disease, 32% of patients with primary disease), and decreased CA-125 (40%).

In their concluding remarks, Dr Sehouli and colleagues expressed that “there is a high need for more information and patient education regarding maintenance therapy goals and side effects.”—Zachary Bessette