Since its approval by the FDA in 1992, paclitaxel(Drug information on paclitaxel) (Taxol) has been widely used in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Surgical debulking has also been proven to increase survival in women with this disease.
A new study, presented at the 30th annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, confirms that the use of both therapies has led to significant improvements in the survival rates of women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer. The investigators, Edward L. Trimble, MD, Michaele C. Christian, MD, and Carol Kosay, of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), perused the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database and studied the medical histories of 2,194 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 1983 and 1987 and 2,082 women diagnosed between 1988 and 1994. They then compared the 5-year relative survival of women diagnosed during these two time periods for each International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage.
They found that the 5-year survival rates for women with stages III and IV ovarian cancer improved significantly between the two time periods studied (Table 1). The authors concluded that the current treatment modalitiessurgical debulking and paclitaxel-based adjuvant chemotherapyprovide superior survival rates to older therapies.