New Findings for Women With Chemo-Resistant Ovarian, Peritoneal Cancer 

We are fully aware that not all ovarian and peritoneal cancers are alike. For those women diagnosed with a rare form of epithelial ovarian/peritoneal cancer (low-grade serous carcinoma), there may be new hope in increasing overall survival rates.

Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report new findings from a retrospective study that the use of hormone maintenance therapy may increase the survival rates in this population of women. This study involved retrospective cohort analysis of 203 women. These patients were all diagnosed with stage II-IV disease and treated from the years 1981 through 2013. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of hormone maintenance therapy on women who received both surgery and chemotherapy.1

“There is a true unmet need for these patients-roughly 70% of women with this disease will experience a recurrence of the cancer at some point,” said David M. Gershenson, MD, professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson. “Our group published research demonstrating that hormonal therapy showed promise in the recurrent setting, with most patients responding or having stable disease. It was a natural progression over time that we began to study this up front, after women received their primary chemotherapy.”

Their findings showed significant increases in survival in women who received hormone maintenance therapy. In fact, 70 patients who received hormone maintenance therapy experienced a 38.5 month greater progression-free survival (PFS) time, as compared to surveillance patients (n = 133). PFS was not the only metric evaluated during this review. They also noted that women who received hormone maintenance therapy versus surveillance experienced a 13-month longer overall survival (OS) rate.

They additionally found that women, who received hormone maintenance therapy following primary chemotherapy, experienced a 51.1-month increase in PFS and an 84.5-month increase in OS.

“Hormonal therapy has shown promising results in reducing cancer recurrence, and there is increasing interest in integrating this approach into first-line therapy,” Gershenson said. “If confirmatory research in a clinical trial setting shows hormonal maintenance therapy can prevent or delay recurrence of this cancer subtype, it would be practice changing.”

This is exciting news for women with this rare form of cancer as this may have a big impact on the way the disease is treated.


1. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Hormonal maintenance therapy may improve survival in women with chemo-resistant rare ovarian or peritoneum cancer. 2017 Feb.