Palliative chemotherapy to manage symptoms in women with recurrent ovarian cancer

Led by Dr Anne Lanceley, this was a large, international study that aimed to predict who would benefit from chemotherapy, so as to avoid unnecessary treatment.

Women with advanced ovarian cancer often experience symptoms that significantly limit their quality of life, and usually receive palliative chemotherapy to alleviate these symptoms. However, side effects from chemotherapy can also reduce quality of life.

Traditional methods of measuring chemotherapy response for this group do not reflect how women’s symptoms benefit from treatments that are often given near the end of life. This study was a large, international study which aimed to predict who would benefit from chemotherapy, so as to avoid unnecessary treatment.

The results from this study led by Dr Anne Lanceley were published in The Oncologist in June 2017. The group identified health-related factors that increased the likelihood of women stopping chemotherapy early and with shortened survival. These findings help improve patient-clinician communication regarding prognosis and help women to make decisions at a point in their illness where quality of life may be at least as important as survival time.

Very few research projects in palliative care are funded, arising from very little attention in this area, which is so essential. Without Target Ovarian Cancer's funding, women in the UK would not have participated in this critical global study, which involved over 900 women from 23 countries.