Harvard Women's Health Watch

In Brief: Abdominal chemotherapy improves ovarian cancer survival

In Brief

Abdominal chemotherapy improves ovarian cancer survival

A treatment that pumps anticancer drugs directly into the abdomen — called intraperitoneal (IP) therapy — stands poised to change medical treatment for women with advanced ovarian cancer. Each year, 25,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mostly at an advanced stage.

Based on the results of eight trials in the past two decades comparing intravenous (by vein) chemotherapy with a combination of intravenous and IP therapies, the National Cancer Institute issued an alert in January 2006 encouraging clinicians to use IP therapy after surgery for ovarian cancer.

The announcement coincided with the publication of a study in the Jan. 5, 2006, New England Journal of Medicine, reporting that women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer who received chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdomen (see graphic) lived 16 months longer than women who got standard intravenous chemotherapy — the longest increase in survival time reported in any randomized trial for ovarian cancer.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »