The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that ovarian cancer patients should be initially treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Around 75 percent of women who receive this regimen go into remission.
Treatments are based on the cancer stage and each patient’s individual needs. Some women diagnosed with stage I cancer localized to a single ovary may opt to only have that ovary and fallopian tube removed. This is sometimes called fertility-sparing surgery.
In some advanced stage III or IV disease, a surgeon will recommend chemotherapy before surgery (called neoadjuvant therapy) to reduce the size of the tumors so they can be removed more easily during the debulking surgery. The standard of care includes a platinum drug, like carboplatin, a taxane, like paclitaxel (Taxol) and sometimes bevacizumab (Avastin) to inhibit blood vessel growth.
Treatments for Newly Diagnosed
This table lists the most commonly used treatments for women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Groups of drugs are used in combination and are taken either before (neo-adjuvant) or after surgery. These drugs are listed in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines as standard treatment options.
|*Optimal: less than 1 cm of cancer remains after surgery; sub-optimal: more than 1 cm of cancer remains
**Stage IV disease, debulking surgery was sub-optimal (>1 cm remaining disease), or ascites was present at diagnosis
|Carboplatin or Cisplatin
|Drugs can be given by vein (iv) or directly into the peritoneal cavity (ip) on different schedules (weekly, every three weeks). The outcome of the debulking surgery (optimal vs. sub-optimal*) will influence the choice of regimen.
To see results from clinical trials with these drugs, click here.
|Adding Avastin to first line chemo and continuing to take it after the chemo is finished can help keep the cancer from coming back – particularly in patients with high risk disease.**|
There are other treatments, including PARP inhibitors and immunotherapies, being evaluated in clinical trials for initial treatment of ovarian cancer. Visit the clinical trials page to find them.