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Sumer K. Wallace, Jeff F. Lin, William A. Cliby, Gary S. Leiserowitz, Ana I. Tergas, and Robert E. Bristow

Objective: To identify risk factors associated with refusal of recommended chemotherapy and its impact on patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Methods: We identified patients in the National Cancer Data Base diagnosed with EOC from January 1998 to December 2011. Patients who refused chemotherapy were identified and compared with those who received recommended, multiagent chemotherapy. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed using chi-square test with Bonferroni correction, binary logistic regression, log-rank test, and Cox proportional hazards modeling. The threshold for statistical significance was set at a P value of less than 0.05. Results: From a cohort of 147,713 eligible patients, 2,707 refused chemotherapy. These patients were compared with 92,212 patients who received recommended multiagent chemotherapy. Older age, more medical comorbidities, not having insurance, and later year of diagnosis were directly and significantly associated with chemotherapy refusal when analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. In addition, lower-than-expected facility adherence to NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Ovarian Cancer, treatment at low-volume center, lower grade, and higher stage were all significantly and independently associated with chemotherapy refusal. Median overall survival of patients who received multiagent chemotherapy was significantly longer than that of those who refused chemotherapy (43 vs 4.8 months; P<.0005). After controlling for known patient, facility, and disease prognostic factors, chemotherapy refusal is significantly associated with increased risk of death. Conclusions: Refusal of recommended chemotherapy carries significant risk of early death from ovarian cancer. Our data demonstrate that the decision to refuse chemotherapy is multifactorial and, in addition to unalterable factors (eg, stage/grade, age), involves factors that can be changed, including facility type and payor. Efforts at addressing these discrepancies in care can improve compliance with chemotherapy recommendations in the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer and outcomes.

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NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Ovarian Cancer, Version 3.2022

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Deborah K. Armstrong, Ronald D. Alvarez, Floor J. Backes, Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, Lisa Barroilhet, Kian Behbakht, Andrew Berchuck, Lee-may Chen, Viola C. Chitiyo, Mihaela Cristea, Maria DeRosa, Eric L. Eisenhauer, David M. Gershenson, Heidi J. Gray, Rachel Grisham, Ardeshir Hakam, Angela Jain, Amer Karam, Gottfried E. Konecny, Charles A. Leath III, Gary Leiserowitz, Joyce Liu, Lainie Martin, Daniela Matei, Michael McHale, Karen McLean, David S. Miller, Sanja Percac-Lima, Steven W. Remmenga, John Schorge, Daphne Stewart, Premal H. Thaker, Roberto Vargas, Andrea Wahner Hendrickson, Theresa L. Werner, Emese Zsiros, Mary A. Dwyer, and Lisa Hang

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the United States, with less than half of patients living >5 years following diagnosis. The NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer provide recommendations for the diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and follow-up for patients with ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize the panel discussion behind recent important updates to the guidelines, including revised guidance on alternative chemotherapy regimens for patients with advanced age and/or comorbidities, a new algorithm for recurrent low-grade serous carcinoma based on developing research and novel therapeutic agents, and updated language regarding tumor molecular analysis applications in ovarian cancer.