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“There is an urgent need for innovative research into ovarian cancer, including research into improved supportive and palliative care.” - Annwen Jones

Lead researcher:

Dr Anne Lanceley

Location: University College London

Research strand: Support

This research was a large, international study to assess whether, for women with advanced ovarian cancer, the symptoms benefit of continuing with chemotherapy can be assessed so women can make an informed choice about continuing with further rounds of chemotherapy.

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 aimed to predict who would benefit from chemotherapy, so as to avoid unnecessary treatment.

The results from this study were published in The Oncologist in June 2017 [Predictors of Stopping Chemotherapy Early and Shortened Survival Time in Platinum Resistant/Refractory Ovarian Cancer—The GCIG Symptom Benefit Study]. The group identified health-related factors that increased the likelihood of women stopping chemotherapy early and with shortened survival.

These findings could 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. The measures will also be useful in clinical trials to evaluate future treatments.

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.

This project funding is now completed.