BACKGROUND: Palliative systemic treatment in elderly gynaecological cancer patients remains a major challenge. In recurrent ovarian cancer (ROC), treosulfan an active alkylating drug showed similar cytotoxicity whether as oral (p.o.) or intravenous (i.v.) application. The aim of this innovative trial was to evaluate the preference of elderly patients (≥65 years) for p.o. or i.v. chemotherapy focusing compliance, outcome, toxicities, and geriatric aspects as secondary endpoints.

METHODS: Patients with ROC had the free choice between treosulfan i.v. (7000 mg/m2 d1, q29d) or p.o. (600 mg/m2 daily d1-28, q57d). Only indecisive participants were randomized.

RESULTS: Overall 123 patients with 2nd to 5th recurrence were registered and 119 received at least one cycle of chemotherapy. 85.7% preferred treosulfan i.v. and 14.3% oral, where only three patients were randomized. Main reasons for i.v. preference associated with individual expectations of lower rate of gastrointestinal disorders, higher activity and tolerability of treatment. Median of applied chemotherapies was three (range 1-12 cycles), with most common grade 3/4 toxicities thrombopenia (18.7%), leukopenia (15.7%), ascites (7.6%), bowel obstruction (6.7%), and abdominal pain (4.2%). Median time until progression/overall survival was 5.2/7.8 months (i.v.), and 5.6/10.4 months (p.o.), respectively, without significant differences in efficacy.

CONCLUSIONS: Elderly patients with recurrent ovarian cancer asked and demonstrated active participation in the decision-making process of their oncological treatment and favoured predominantly the i.v. application. Treosulfan was generally well-tolerated despite comorbidities and heavy pre-treatment. Our study demonstrates that patients' preference did not influence prognosis negatively and remains important in gynaecologic oncology decision practice.

EUDRACT NR: 2004-000719-25; NCT 00170690.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGynecologic oncology research and practice
Pages (from-to)6
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)


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