Role of secondary surgery in relapsed ovarian cancer

Fabio Parazzini, Francesco Raspagliesi, Paolo Guarnerio, Giorgio Bolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recurrent ovarian cancer secondary surgery may be an important opportunity to improve survival and quality of life. In order to give a general overview of the available evidence, we discuss published data on the role of secondary surgery in relapsing ovarian cancer. The median survival after secondary surgery has been reported ranging from 16 to 29 months, and seems to be longer in subjects with optimal debulked disease. However, as with front-line debulking, it is difficult to establish whether the secondary debulking itself has a therapeutic, or even a lasting palliative effect, or whether the patients in whom the procedure is successful are those who have more indolent disease. Any benefit of treatment must be compared with potential morbidity. Post-operative complications are reported in about 25-30% of cases, with a potential impact on hospital stay. During the natural course of the disease, most patients with ovarian cancer develop intestinal obstruction, without impairment of other vital organs or pain. Reported series have suggested that palliative surgery for bowel obstruction is generally feasible in most patients. Some prognostic factors have been suggested to identify patients likely to benefit most from palliative surgery: young age seemed to be associated with longer survival after successful surgery for bowel obstruction, though this finding was not statistically significant. The site of obstruction does not seem to be related to survival after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Ovarian cancer
  • Relapse
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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