Patients with ovarian carcinoma show an increased incidence of second tumors. The reason for this increase in incidence is not known. One hundred and ten ovarian cancer patients, in which half received an alkylating agent(Melphalan) and the rest received no chemotherapy, were studied to evaluate the role of chemotherapy in the development of second malignancies. In 55 chemotherapy treated patients 17 second tumors developed which can be compared with five second tumors developing in 55 patients not receiving chemotherapy (P = 0.017). Cytogenetic analysis of peripheral blood cells performed on the 55 chemotherapy treated patients showed an increased frequency of chromosome aberrations compared with healthy controls, but no difference was observed between patients developing second tumors and those who did not. No statistically significant difference in the incidence of close relatives with cancer was observed in patients with second tumors as compared to cases remaining free of new malignancies. In conclusion the give chemotherapy seems to be the major cause for second tumors in this cohort of patients with ovarian cancer.
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