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Clinical Response to Antiestrogen Therapy in Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer Patients and the Role of Tumor Estrogen Receptor Expression Status
  1. Marina Stasenko, MD*,
  2. Melissa Plegue, MA,
  3. Andrew P. Sciallis, MD and
  4. Karen McLean, MD, PhD*
  1. *Division of Gynecologic Oncology,
  2. Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, and
  3. Department of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Karen McLean, MD, PhD, L4604 Women’s Hospital, 1500 E Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail: karenmcl{at}


Objective This study aimed to determine the progression-free interval (PFI) for patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer on antiestrogen therapy (AET), and to correlate PFI with tumor estrogen receptor (ER) expression status.

Materials and Methods This single-institution retrospective cohort study investigated platinum-resistant epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers treated with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor from January 1999 to January 2012. Median PFI was calculated and a 95% confidence interval was constructed by bootstrapping. Relationships of PFI with disease characteristics were examined using 1-way analysis of variance or Pearson correlation. Estrogen receptor status of tumor specimens was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Progression-free interval was compared between ER groups with the Mann-Whitney test. Kaplan-Meier estimate was used to determine overall survival.

Results Ninety-nine patients met inclusion criteria: 77 (78%) received tamoxifen and 22 (22%) an aromatase inhibitor. Patients had a mean of 4 prior chemotherapy regimens (range, 1–14). Median PFI for any AET was 4.0 months (range, 1–49; 95% confidence interval, 3.0–5.0). Progression-free interval was independent of the number of prior treatments and type of AET, but longer with earlier stage at diagnosis. Estrogen receptor status was obtained for 63 patients, 44 were positive and 19 were negative. Progression-free interval was not statistically significant between ER-positive (median, 4.0 months) and ER-negative (median, 2.0 months) tumor status (P = 0.36).

Conclusions This is the largest study to date investigating AET in heavily pretreated, platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients. The median PFI of 4.0 months is comparable to standard cytotoxic therapies, and some patients with PFI greater than this median interval had ER-negative tumors. Given the limited adverse effects of AET, as well as low cost including oral administration, this treatment should be considered in all patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Tamoxifen
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Aromatase inhibitor

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  • Supported by the University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Ansbacher Resident Research Fund.

  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.