Fifty-four patients were referred to Medical Oncology after operation for "limited" ovarian cancer; 7 were excluded because immediate restaging showed evidence of macroscopic spread to structures outside the true pelvis, and 10 will be considered separately because of microscopic spread shown only by cytology. Thirty-seven patients (31 stage I and 6 stage II) were accordingly accepted as "localized", because peritoneal cytology and diaphragm and omental plus parietal peritoneum histology could rule out the spread to the large abdominal cavity. Some of the referred patients had been operated in nearby hospitals; the Padua GYN Cin. performed 14 of the 37 first surgery operations and 30 of the 37 second look operations. All patients soon after surgery underwent first-line chemotherapy with 5 courses of high dose adriamycin plus cyclophosphamide for 4 months, then surgical second look, and second-line non-cross-resistant chemotherapy for 3 months. During the second look the organ and tissue removal was completed in those 21 patients having received "limited" first surgery. Two patients died within 5 years from admission, so that the overall 5 year actuarial survival from referral is 93% for the entire group with 11 patients still at risk; 87% are disease free 5 years after the second look with 7 at risk. Subdivision of the patients according to "adequate" vs. "limited" first surgery, may select a group (the "adequate" one, composed of 16 patients) completely free from relapses, up to now. The complex therapeutic program described seems to offer long term relapse-free survival to the majority of patients, while the few failures seem closely related with inadequacies of the initial surgical procedure.
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