Targeting Chemo Kills Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer patients that qualify may have chemotherapy shot directly into the abdomen

(RxWiki News) In certain ovarian cancer cases, chemotherapy may be injected directly into abdominal area. Concentrating chemotherapy to the cancer site has its risks and rewards.

A recent study tested chemotherapy delivery methods in a group of ovarian cancer patients.

The study results showed women who had chemotherapy injected directly into their abdomens had a better chance of living for five years after diagnosis compared to women receiving chemotherapy through an IV.

"Talk to your gynecologic oncologist about  treatment options."

A team of gynecologic oncologists, led by Devansu Tewari, MD, from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, presented findings on abdominal delivery of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology annual meeting in Los Angeles. These study findings have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Generally, chemotherapy is given to patients through a tube with a needle inserted into the patient’s hand or forearm. This method, which sends the chemotherapy medications into the blood stream, is called intravenous (IV) chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy can also be delivered directly to the abdomen area. This method can be used on women who have advanced ovarian cancer and have already undergone surgical removal of the ovaries. The US National Cancer Institute has approved use of the abdominal chemotherapy method for qualifying ovarian cancer cases.

For this study, 876 women with ovarian cancer were given either chemotherapy injections directly into the stomach area or into the blood stream via IV.

The results of the study showed women who received abdominal chemo baths had a 17 percent better chance of living for 5 years after diagnosis.

Directly injecting chemotherapy into the abdomen does have serious side effects. Previous studies have found abdominal injections of chemotherapy can cause tingling in the hands and feet and abdominal discomfort. Better results were seen in younger women who were able to undergo five or six rounds of chemotherapy.

The authors said the advantage of abdominal delivered chemotherapy versus IV delivered chemotherapy extended beyond 10 years.

These study results were presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles in March.

No funding information was made public. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
March 12, 2013