This paper shows that the combination of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (say it: PACK-LEE-TAX-ELL) with cisplatin (say it: SIS-PLAT-IN) increases progression free survival from advanced ovarian cancer when compared with the drugs cyclophosphamide (say it: SIGH-CLO-FOS-FAM-IDE) and cisplatin. Progression free survival (PFS) is the length of time a patient survives without their cancer progressing or increasing.
In this study, women with stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer were randomly assigned to receive 2 chemotherapy drugs after completion of surgery. One group of patients were given the drugs cyclophosphamide and cisplatin which was the most used combination of drugs used at the time for ovarian cancer. The other group were given the drugs paclitaxel and cisplatin. The patients were followed up over time to check the response of their ovarian cancer to the treatment. The time was measured from when they joined the study until the disease progressed meaning the tumours increased in number or got bigger in size or until the patient died. The time from when they joined the study until death is called the overall survival (OS).
The paclitaxel/cisplatin group did have more side effects from treatment than the other group but these side effects were generally brief and mild.
In terms of PFS, the patients in the cisplatin/paclitaxel group had on average 18 months from joining the study until their cancer progressed. Those in the other group had an average of 13 months for PFS.
They found that the OS was longer in the women treated with paclitaxel and cisplatin than those treated with cisplatin and cyclophosphamide. Those in the cisplatin/paclitaxel group lived on average 38 months while those in the other group lived for an average of 24 months.
Cisplatin and paclitaxel leads to longer progression free and overall survival in women with advanced ovarian cancer. Patients have more side effects from this regimen, but these are generally mild.