Factors Predicting Use of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Compared With Primary Debulking Surgery in Advanced Stage Ovarian Cancer—A National Cancer Database Study

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We performed a patterns-of-care study to characterize the types of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) versus primary debulking surgery (PDS) using the National Cancer Database (NCDB).


We identified patients with stages IIIC and IV EOC in the NCDB diagnosed from 2003 to 2011. Patients who received chemotherapy (CT) prior to surgery were classified as receiving NACT; if surgery preceded CT, then it was classified as PDS. Data collected from the NCDB included demographics, medical comorbidity index, cancer characteristics and treatment, and hospital characteristics. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed using χ2 test, logistic regression, log-rank test, and Cox proportional hazards modeling as indicated. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.


A total of 62,727 patients with stages IIIC and IV EOC were identified. The sequence of surgery and CT was identified, of which 6922 (11%) had NACT and 31,280 (50%) had PDS. Neoadjuvant CT was more frequently done in stage IV than stage IIIC (13% vs 9%), and its use markedly increased over time. Variables associated with increased likelihood of NACT use were as follows: age older than 50 years and those with higher comorbidities, stage IV, and higher-grade EOC. Neoadjuvant CT use was also associated with hospitals that were adherent to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, high-volume facilities, those in the Midwest and West, and academic centers.


Evidence suggests that patients with greater adverse risk factors are more likely to receive NACT instead of PDS. Use of NACT has significantly increased over the study period, especially in patients with stage IV ovarian cancer.

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