The prognosis for patients with advanced FIGO stage III epithelial ovarian cancer remains poor despite the aggressive standard treatment, consisting of maximal cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. The median time to recurrence is less than 2 years, with a 5-years survival rate of -20-25%. Recurrences of the disease occur mostly intraperitoneally.
Ovarian cancer is a radiosensitive tumor, so that the use of whole abdominal radiotherapy (WAR) as a consolidation therapy would appear to be a logical strategy. WAR used to be the standard treatment after surgery before the chemotherapy era; however, it has been almost totally excluded from the treatment of ovarian cancer during the past decade because of its high toxicity. Modern intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has the potential of sparing organs at risk like kidneys, liver, and bone marrow while still adequately covering the peritoneal cavity with a homogenous dose.
Our previous phase I study showed for the first time the clinical feasibility of intensity-modulated WAR and pointed out promising results concerning treatment tolerance. The current phase-II study succeeds to the phase-I study to further evaluate the toxicity of this new treatment.
The OVAR-IMRT-02 study is a single-center one arm phase-II trial. Thirty seven patients with optimally debulked ovarian cancer stage FIGO III having a complete remission after chemotherapy will be treated with intensity-modulated WAR as a consolidation therapy.
A total dose of 30 Gy in 20 fractions of 1.5 Gy will be applied to the entire peritoneal cavity including the liver surface and the pelvic and para-aortic node regions. Organ at risk are kidneys, liver (except the 1 cm-outer border), heart, vertebral bodies and pelvic bones.
Primary endpoint is tolerability; secondary objectives are toxicity, quality of life, progression-free and overall survival.
Intensity-modulated WAR provides a new promising option in the consolidation treatment of ovarian carcinoma in patients with a complete pathologic remission after adjuvant chemotherapy. Further consequent studies will be needed to enable firm conclusions regarding the value of consolidation radiotherapy within the multimodal treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.