Endocrine therapy in ovarian cancer: where do we stand?

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Purpose of review

Hormonal factors play a pivotal role in epithelial ovarian tumorigenesis and steroid receptor expression has been associated with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) response and survival in recent studies. However, the degree of activity of endocrine therapy overall and by specific agents remains unclear. The purpose of this work is to summarize the evidence provided by the recent literature on the effectiveness of endocrine treatment for advanced EOC.

Recent findings

The results of 53 trials of different endocrine therapies in EOC indicate a clinical benefit of 41% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.34–0.48], with a trend for a higher benefit in those with estrogen receptor (ER) + and/or progesteron receptor (PgR) + tumors. Moreover, the odd ratio for death showed a reduced mortality with endocrine regimens (0.69, 95% CI, 0.50–0.97), with a propensity for a better outcome in first-line and low-grade tumors.


We suggest that ER and PgR have a predictive role and their inhibition by endocrine therapy may be a treatment option for EOC. Randomized clinical trials in the first-line treatment of advanced hormone receptor positive EOC are warranted given the potential cost effectiveness of this approach.

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