The purpose of this systematic study was to provide an up to date and reliable quantitative summary of the relative benefits of various types of chemotherapy (non-platinum vs platinum, single-agent vs combination and carboplatin vs cisplatin) in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Also, to investigate whether well-defined patient subgroups benefit more or less from cisplatin- or carboplatin-based therapy. Meta-analyses were based on updated individual patient data from all available randomized controlled trials (published and unpublished), including 37 trials, 5667 patients and 4664 deaths. The results suggest that platinum-based chemotherapy is better than non-platinum therapy, show a trend in favour of platinum combinations over single-agent platinum, and suggest that cisplatin and carboplatin are equally effective. There is no good evidence that cisplatin is more or less effective than carboplatin in any particular subgroup of patients.