A study has examined the challenges associated with the administration of intra-abdominal chemotherapy, also known as intraperitoneal ( IP ) chemotherapy.
The New England Journal of Medicine study, " Intravenous Cisplatin and Paclitaxel versus an intensive regimen of intravenous Paclitaxel, intraperitoneal Cisplatin and intraperitoneal Paclitaxel in stage III ovarian cancer: A Gynecologic Oncology Group ( GOG ) Study, " found that women who received part of their chemotherapy via an IP route had a median survival 16 months longer than women who received IV chemotherapy alone ( 65.6 months versus 49.7 months ).
Women could only be enrolled in this study if they had undergone thorough surgery resulting in optimal resection of their cancers such that the largest residual tumor nodules were less than 1 cm in diameter prior to initiation of chemotherapy. Segmental bowel resections were required to remove large tumor nodules in 32% of the women treated with IP chemotherapy. This finding highlights the importance of referral of women with known or suspected ovarian cancer to physicians with special expertise and training in the surgical management of ovarian cancer.
The IP therapy was shown to improve survival even though only 42% of patients in the IP therapy arm of the study completed all the prescribed IP treatments.
The companion study published in Gynecologic Oncology, " Intraperitoneal catheter outcomes: a phase III trial of intravenous versus intraperitoneal chemotherapy in optimal stage III ovarian and primary peritoneal cancer: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study," by Joan L. Walker, and colleagues identifies issues and challenges associated with the administration of IP chemotherapy in conjunction with IV chemotherapy.
These include proper surgical insertion and maintenance of IP catheters, as well as management of adverse events such as catheter obstruction, infection and bowel complications.
Source: Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, 2006