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    Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Recurrent or Persistent Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Treatment

    Table 4. Other Drugs That Have Been Used in the Setting of Recurrent Ovarian Cancer(Efficacy Not Well Defined After Failure of Platinum-Containing Regimens)

    Drugs Drug Class Major Toxicities Comments
    Etoposide Topoisomerase II inhibitor Myelosuppression; alopecia Oral; rare leukemia dampens interest
    Cyclophosphamide and several other bischloroethylamines Alkylating agents Myelosuppression; alopecia (only the oxazaphosphorines) Leukemia and cystitis; uncertain activity after platinums
    Hexamethylmelamine (Altretamine) Unknown but probably alkylating prodrugs Emesis and neurotoxicity Oral; uncertain activity after platinums
    Irinotecan Topoisomerase I inhibitor Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms Cross-resistant to topotecan
    Oxaliplatin Platinum Neuropathy, emesis, myelosuppression Cross-resistant to usual platinums, but less so
    Vinorelbine Mitotic inhibitor Myelosuppression Erratic activity
    Fluorouracil and capecitabine Fluoropyrimidine antimetabolites Gastrointestinal symptoms and myelosuppression Capecitabine is oral; may be useful in mucinous tumors
    Tamoxifen Antiestrogen Thromboembolism Oral; minimal activity, perhaps more in subsets

    Treatment Options for Patients with Recurrent or Persistent Disease

    1. Secondary cytoreduction has been advocated, but it remains controversial.[3] The GOG-0213 trial, active in 2008, is attempting to define its role.
    2. For patients with platinum-sensitive disease (i.e., ≥6-12 mo between completion of a platinum-based regimen and the development of recurrent disease), retreatment with a platinum or platinum-containing combination, such as carboplatin, should be considered (see Table 3).
    3. For patients with platinum-refractory or platinum-resistant disease (i.e., disease that has progressed while on a platinum-based regimen or has recurred within 6 months of completion of a platinum-based regimen), clinical trials should be considered. For patients who are not entering a trial, treatment with one of the drugs listed above should be considered.
    4. Other agents that have shown activity in phase II trials are listed in Table 4 and may also be used alone or in combination with other drugs, but such treatments are best done in prospective trials.

    Current Clinical Trials

    Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent ovarian epithelial cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

    General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


    1. Ozols RF, Bundy BN, Greer BE, et al.: Phase III trial of carboplatin and paclitaxel compared with cisplatin and paclitaxel in patients with optimally resected stage III ovarian cancer: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 21 (17): 3194-200, 2003.
    2. Rustin GJ, van der Burg ME, Griffin CL, et al.: Early versus delayed treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer (MRC OV05/EORTC 55955): a randomised trial. Lancet 376 (9747): 1155-63, 2010.
    3. Hoskins WJ, Rubin SC, Dulaney E, et al.: Influence of secondary cytoreduction at the time of second-look laparotomy on the survival of patients with epithelial ovarian carcinoma. Gynecol Oncol 34 (3): 365-71, 1989.
    4. Monk BJ, Herzog TJ, Kaye SB, et al.: Trabectedin plus pegylated liposomal Doxorubicin in recurrent ovarian cancer. J Clin Oncol 28 (19): 3107-14, 2010.
    5. Bolis G, Scarfone G, Giardina G, et al.: Carboplatin alone vs carboplatin plus epidoxorubicin as second-line therapy for cisplatin- or carboplatin-sensitive ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol 81 (1): 3-9, 2001.
    6. Cantù MG, Buda A, Parma G, et al.: Randomized controlled trial of single-agent paclitaxel versus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and cisplatin in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who responded to first-line platinum-based regimens. J Clin Oncol 20 (5): 1232-7, 2002.
    7. Pfisterer J, Plante M, Vergote I, et al.: Gemcitabine plus carboplatin compared with carboplatin in patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer: an intergroup trial of the AGO-OVAR, the NCIC CTG, and the EORTC GCG. J Clin Oncol 24 (29): 4699-707, 2006.
    8. Muggia FM: Overview of carboplatin: replacing, complementing, and extending the therapeutic horizons of cisplatin. Semin Oncol 16 (2 Suppl 5): 7-13, 1989.
    9. Piccart MJ, Green JA, Lacave AJ, et al.: Oxaliplatin or paclitaxel in patients with platinum-pretreated advanced ovarian cancer: A randomized phase II study of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Gynecology Group. J Clin Oncol 18 (6): 1193-202, 2000.
    10. Markman M, Markman J, Webster K, et al.: Duration of response to second-line, platinum-based chemotherapy for ovarian cancer: implications for patient management and clinical trial design. J Clin Oncol 22 (15): 3120-5, 2004.
    11. Gordon AN, Tonda M, Sun S, et al.: Long-term survival advantage for women treated with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin compared with topotecan in a phase 3 randomized study of recurrent and refractory epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol 95 (1): 1-8, 2004.
    12. Parmar MK, Ledermann JA, Colombo N, et al.: Paclitaxel plus platinum-based chemotherapy versus conventional platinum-based chemotherapy in women with relapsed ovarian cancer: the ICON4/AGO-OVAR-2.2 trial. Lancet 361 (9375): 2099-106, 2003.
    13. Pujade-Lauraine E, Wagner U, Aavall-Lundqvist E, et al.: Pegylated liposomal Doxorubicin and Carboplatin compared with Paclitaxel and Carboplatin for patients with platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer in late relapse. J Clin Oncol 28 (20): 3323-9, 2010.
    14. Kohn EC, Sarosy G, Bicher A, et al.: Dose-intense taxol: high response rate in patients with platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 86 (1): 18-24, 1994.
    15. McGuire WP, Rowinsky EK, Rosenshein NB, et al.: Taxol: a unique antineoplastic agent with significant activity in advanced ovarian epithelial neoplasms. Ann Intern Med 111 (4): 273-9, 1989.
    16. Einzig AI, Wiernik PH, Sasloff J, et al.: Phase II study and long-term follow-up of patients treated with taxol for advanced ovarian adenocarcinoma. J Clin Oncol 10 (11): 1748-53, 1992.
    17. Thigpen JT, Blessing JA, Ball H, et al.: Phase II trial of paclitaxel in patients with progressive ovarian carcinoma after platinum-based chemotherapy: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 12 (9): 1748-53, 1994.
    18. Trimble EL, Adams JD, Vena D, et al.: Paclitaxel for platinum-refractory ovarian cancer: results from the first 1,000 patients registered to National Cancer Institute Treatment Referral Center 9103. J Clin Oncol 11 (12): 2405-10, 1993.
    19. ten Bokkel Huinink W, Gore M, Carmichael J, et al.: Topotecan versus paclitaxel for the treatment of recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer. J Clin Oncol 15 (6): 2183-93, 1997.
    20. Gordon AN, Fleagle JT, Guthrie D, et al.: Recurrent epithelial ovarian carcinoma: a randomized phase III study of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin versus topotecan. J Clin Oncol 19 (14): 3312-22, 2001.
    21. Kudelka AP, Tresukosol D, Edwards CL, et al.: Phase II study of intravenous topotecan as a 5-day infusion for refractory epithelial ovarian carcinoma. J Clin Oncol 14 (5): 1552-7, 1996.
    22. Creemers GJ, Bolis G, Gore M, et al.: Topotecan, an active drug in the second-line treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer: results of a large European phase II study. J Clin Oncol 14 (12): 3056-61, 1996.
    23. Bookman MA, Malmström H, Bolis G, et al.: Topotecan for the treatment of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer: an open-label phase II study in patients treated after prior chemotherapy that contained cisplatin or carboplatin and paclitaxel. J Clin Oncol 16 (10): 3345-52, 1998.
    24. McGonigle KF, Muntz HG, Vuky J, et al.: Combined weekly topotecan and biweekly bevacizumab in women with platinum-resistant ovarian, peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer: results of a phase 2 study. Cancer 117 (16): 3731-40, 2011.
    25. Muggia FM, Hainsworth JD, Jeffers S, et al.: Phase II study of liposomal doxorubicin in refractory ovarian cancer: antitumor activity and toxicity modification by liposomal encapsulation. J Clin Oncol 15 (3): 987-93, 1997.
    26. Berkenblit A, Seiden MV, Matulonis UA, et al.: A phase II trial of weekly docetaxel in patients with platinum-resistant epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal serous cancer, or fallopian tube cancer. Gynecol Oncol 95 (3): 624-31, 2004.
    27. Friedlander M, Millward MJ, Bell D, et al.: A phase II study of gemcitabine in platinum pre-treated patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. Ann Oncol 9 (12): 1343-5, 1998.
    28. Lund B, Hansen OP, Theilade K, et al.: Phase II study of gemcitabine (2',2'-difluorodeoxycytidine) in previously treated ovarian cancer patients. J Natl Cancer Inst 86 (20): 1530-3, 1994.
    29. Shapiro JD, Millward MJ, Rischin D, et al.: Activity of gemcitabine in patients with advanced ovarian cancer: responses seen following platinum and paclitaxel. Gynecol Oncol 63 (1): 89-93, 1996.
    30. Mutch DG, Orlando M, Goss T, et al.: Randomized phase III trial of gemcitabine compared with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. J Clin Oncol 25 (19): 2811-8, 2007.
    31. Burger RA, Sill MW, Monk BJ, et al.: Phase II trial of bevacizumab in persistent or recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer or primary peritoneal cancer: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 25 (33): 5165-71, 2007.
    32. Cannistra SA, Matulonis UA, Penson RT, et al.: Phase II study of bevacizumab in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer or peritoneal serous cancer. J Clin Oncol 25 (33): 5180-6, 2007.
    33. Vasey PA, McMahon L, Paul J, et al.: A phase II trial of capecitabine (Xeloda) in recurrent ovarian cancer. Br J Cancer 89 (10): 1843-8, 2003.
    34. Monk BJ, Han E, Josephs-Cowan CA, et al.: Salvage bevacizumab (rhuMAB VEGF)-based therapy after multiple prior cytotoxic regimens in advanced refractory epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol 102 (2): 140-4, 2006.
    35. Kaye SB: Bevacizumab for the treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer: will this be its finest hour? J Clin Oncol 25 (33): 5150-2, 2007.
    36. Garcia AA, Hirte H, Fleming G, et al.: Phase II clinical trial of bevacizumab and low-dose metronomic oral cyclophosphamide in recurrent ovarian cancer: a trial of the California, Chicago, and Princess Margaret Hospital phase II consortia. J Clin Oncol 26 (1): 76-82, 2008.
    37. Vergote I, Calvert H, Kania M, et al.: A randomised, double-blind, phase II study of two doses of pemetrexed in the treatment of platinum-resistant, epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer. Eur J Cancer 45 (8): 1415-23, 2009.
    38. Miller DS, Blessing JA, Krasner CN, et al.: Phase II evaluation of pemetrexed in the treatment of recurrent or persistent platinum-resistant ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma: a study of the Gynecologic Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 27 (16): 2686-91, 2009.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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