Chemotherapy before surgery benefits patients with advanced ovarian cancer

Women with advanced ovarian cancer have fewer side effects and tend to have a better quality of life if given chemotherapy before surgery, according to a Cancer Research UK study published in The Lancet.

The CHORUS trial, conducted at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, challenged the international standard for treating advanced ovarian cancer.

550 women with the disease took part in the trial, with 276 given the standard treatment of surgery followed by six cycles of chemotherapy, and 274 had surgery after three cycles of chemotherapy.

The Cancer Research UK funded trial found that post-surgery complications and death within 28 days of surgery was most common among women given surgery first. Women who received delayed surgery suffered fewer symptoms, a reduction in overall side effects and had a lower death rate.

Delaying surgery also reduced the amount of time the patient spent in the hospital after surgery – a benefit to both the patient and NHS resources.

The CHORUS trial is the largest surgical trial of its kind in the UK and second largest in the world. It aimed to see if this new treatment strategy was a good alternative to the traditional approach.

Reference:  Kehoe et al. Primary chemotherapy versus primary surgery for newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer (CHORUS): an open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial. The Lancet.

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