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Counterpoint: Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: An Investigational Treatment in Ovarian Cancer

Robert F. Ozols

Intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy in ovarian cancer has been studied since 1978. Numerous phase II trials have been performed, which have shown that higher levels can be obtained in the peritoneal cavity compared with systemic circulation after administration of cytoxic agents in a large volume via a semi-permanent catheter. Three randomized trials have been performed in patients with ovarian cancer comparing different IP regimens to standard therapy with intravenous agents. The last two trials from the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) and the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) compared two different IP regimens versus standard therapy with intravenous cisplatin plus paclitaxel. Although an improvement in progression-free survival was reported for the IP regimens, they have been associated with unacceptable toxicity, and no IP regimen can be considered standard therapy. Maintenance therapy with IP cisplatin also failed to improve survival in patients who obtained complete remission after intravenous chemotherapy. The GOG is considering another phase III trial of IP therapy that will compare a carboplatin-based regimen versus standard therapy with intravenous paclitaxel plus carboplatin. Unless such a trial shows an improvement in clinical outcome, intravenous carboplatin plus paclitaxel remains the standard of care and IP chemotherapy should not be used outside of a clinical trial.