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Long-term survival in 463 women treated with platinum analogs for advanced epithelial carcinoma of the ovary: life expectancy compared to women of an age-matched normal population
  1. H. E. Lambert*,
  2. W. M. Gregory,
  3. A. E. Nelstrop and
  4. G. J. S. Rustin
  1. * Department of Clinical Oncology, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
  2. British National Lymphoma Investigation, Northwood, Middlesex, UK
  3. Department of Medical Oncology, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex, UK
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Professor G. J. S. Rustin, Department of Medical Oncology, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2RN, UK. Email: gordon.rustin{at}


The objective was to assess the long-term survival (5–15 years) in 463 women, with stages IIb–IV epithelial carcinoma of the ovary and to compare their survival with that of a normal population matched for age and sex. Statistical analysis of 463 women, with stages IIb–IV epithelial cancer of the ovary, who were participants in two consecutive North Thames Ovary Group randomized trials, which took place between 1985 and 1994, was performed. The median follow-up period was 10.5 years. The women were treated with debulking surgery, where possible, and adjuvant platinum chemotherapy. One of the randomized groups in the first North Thames trial also received total abdominal radiotherapy. Survival rates at 5, 10, and 15 years were assessed. Prognostic factors for long-term survival were determined using a mathematical model to separate early effects from late effects. The ratio of observed to expected deaths compared to the normal population was calculated. Overall survival at 5 years was 21% (95% confidence intervals 17.5–25%), at 10 years was 13.5% (95% confidence intervals 10.5–17%), and at 15 years was 12% (95% confidence intervals 9–16%). The important prognostic factors for long-term survival were disease-free or minimal residual disease (a single remaining deposit <2 cm) at initial surgery with tumor grade 1 and good performance status. Compared with the normal population (1995 data), the ratio of observed to expected deaths after start of chemotherapy at 5 years was 14.1 (P < 0.001 Fisher's exact test), at 9–10 years 4.9 (P = 0.0033, Fisher's exact test), while in the 11- to 15-year period it had dropped to 2.75 (P = 0.090, Fisher's exact test), which was not significantly different. Patients with advanced cancer of the ovary, who survive 11 years or longer, have a life expectancy which is very similar to that of a normal population of women of the same age. Women with advanced ovarian cancer have an improved chance of long-term survival following treatment if they present with minimal residual disease after primary surgical debulking, grade 1 tumors, and good performance status.

  • long-term survival
  • ovarian cancer
  • prognostic factors

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