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Intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer

Hamilton, Chad A; Berek, Jonathan S

doi: 10.1097/01.cco.0000239892.21161.18
Gynecologic cancer

Purpose of review Intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is based on sound pharmacological principles and is technically feasible. There is mounting evidence, bolstered by a recent randomized trial, that in certain patients, this route of delivery may be superior to traditional intravenous chemotherapy. This review explores the background and pharmacokinetic principles of intraperitoneal chemotherapy, the recent evidence supporting an intraperitoneal approach, and some of the logistical and technical challenges involved.

Recent findings Intraperitoneal chemotherapy has been evaluated in several settings. Most phase I and II data came from second-line treatment of ovarian cancer, and there have been a few series, including one recent phase III trial, exploring intraperitoneal consolidation. The greatest impact among recent studies will be from a large, intergroup phase III trial evaluating intraperitoneal therapy in the front-line setting. This study will probably change the dialogue of standard treatment for optimally cytoreduced, advanced epithelial ovarian cancer.

Summary Based on recent findings, intraperitoneal chemotherapy should be considered for the front-line treatment of women with minimal residual advanced ovarian cancer. Efforts should continue to facilitate the integration of intraperitoneal treatment into mainstream practice, and future trials should be designed to address lingering controversy surrounding this route of treatment.

Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford Cancer Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

Correspondence to Jonathan S. Berek, MD, MMS, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, HH333, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Tel: +1 650 723 5533; fax: +1 650 723 7737; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.