Delivering chemotherapy directly into the abdomen improves survival in women with advanced ovarian cancer, a new study shows.
Doctors randomly assigned 415 women with ovarian cancer that was spreading to nearby tissues to receive either standard chemotherapy intravenously or that therapy plus up to six courses, at 3-week intervals, of chemotherapy injected into the abdomen via a catheter. This approach is available for cancer treatment, but few doctors use it. The drugs used in the new study were cisplatin and paclitaxel (Taxol).
The median survival time for the 205 women getting the abdominal infusions was 66 months, the longest ever recorded for a group treated for this stage of ovarian cancer, the researchers report in the Jan. 5 New England Journal of Medicine. Median survival time was 50 months for women getting only intravenous chemotherapy.
The longer survival came with a price. Early in the treatment, women getting the abdominal therapy had more g