Secondary cytoreduction in ovarian cancer: who really benefits?

Maria Teresa Giudice, Marco D’Indinosante, Serena Cappuccio, Valerio Gallotta, Anna Fagotti, Giovanni Scambia, Marco Petrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify women affected by recurrent ovarian cancer who benefit from secondary cytoreductive surgery (SCS), analyse their clinical and biological features and investigate the role of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal-based chemotherapy (HIPEC) in this subset of patients. Methods: This narrative review examines the data available from the updated literature. An electronic literature search was conducted in PubMed Medline databases for articles published from 1990 to 2018. Results: Retrospective studies and preliminary data from the AGO-Desktop III trial show that cytoreductive surgery is associated with improved post-relapse survival in patients with platinum-sensitive relapse, compared to chemotherapy alone. This benefit is more evident in patients treated with complete or optimal primary debulking surgery at referral centres, who did not receive bevacizumab in first-line chemotherapy, and who present a localized pattern of disease. MIS has been proven to be a favourable approach to achieve a complete secondary debulking, reducing peri- and postoperative comorbidities. The application of HIPEC to SCS is associated with an improvement in oncological outcomes by preliminary results. Conclusions: While waiting for the final results of the ongoing randomized controlled trials, SCS seems feasible and safe in selected patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. Recently, more attention has been focused on the biological features of ovarian tumours, such as BRCA status. Further studies and molecular research should be conducted to identify individualized and targeted therapies in the treatment of ovarian cancer recurrences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-879
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Biological features
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Personalized treatment
  • Recurrent ovarian cancer
  • Secondary cytoreductive surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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