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Ovarian Cancer Surgery in Australia and New Zealand: A Survey to Determine Changes in Surgical Practice Over 10 Years
  1. Rhonda Farrell, MS, CGO*,,,§,
  2. Winston Spencer Liauw, MMedSci§ and
  3. Alison Hilary Brand, MD, CGO,#
  1. * Royal Hospital for Women;
  2. Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Randwick;
  3. St George Hospital;
  4. § Sydney UNSW, Sydney;
  5. Cancer Care Centre, St George Hospital, Kogarah;
  6. Westmead Hospital, Westmead; and
  7. # ANZGOG, Sydney, Australia.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Rhonda Farrell, MS, CGO, Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Suite 30, Level 7, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia. E-mail: rhondafarrell{at}


Objective This study aimed to survey all practicing certified gynecological oncologists (CGOs) in Australia and New Zealand to determine their current surgical practice for primary advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and compare the findings with an identical survey conducted 10 years previously.

Methods/Materials A questionnaire was e-mailed to all 53 practicing CGOs in Australia and New Zealand in July 2017 assessing their definition of optimal debulking for EOC, their use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and the surgical procedures they use to achieve cytoreduction. Results were compared with an identical study performed in 2007 using χ2 and logistic regression analysis.

Results Response rate was 89% (47/53). A higher percentage of patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy before surgery in 2017 than in 2007 (43% vs 16%, respectively). In 2017, CGOs were more likely to define optimal debulking as zero residual disease (R0; 21/44 [48%] vs 6/34 [18%], P < 0.001). To achieve this, CGOs were significantly more likely to independently perform stripping/resection of the diaphragm (44/47 [94%] vs 15/34 [44%], P < 0.001) and, with assistance from surgical colleagues, perform resection of upper para-aortic lymph nodes (39/46 [85%] vs 21/34 [62%], P = 0.02) and parenchymal liver metastases (30/46 [65%] vs 13/34 [38%], P = 0.02). They were now less likely to resect/reimplant the ureter without assistance (23% vs 53%, P = 0.01). A surgeon's definition of optimal debulking as R0 was significantly associated with a high use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (in ≥50% of patients).

Conclusions Certified gynecological oncologists' definition of optimal debulking for primary EOC is more likely to be R0 in 2017 than in 2007. Radical abdominal surgery was performed more often in 2017, requiring assistance by a surgical colleague in many cases. An increased use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was the only factor significantly associated with CGOs' definition of optimal debulking as R0.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cytoreductive surgery
  • Optimal debulking
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • Surgical training

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.