Chemo Bath Improves Ovarian Cancer Survival

Chemo Bath Improves Ovarian Cancer Survival

CancerConnect News: A heated chemotherapy bath circulated throughout the abdomen after surgery can significantly prolong a woman’s survival with advanced ovarian cancer, according to the results of a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine this week.1

About Ovarian Cancer

Each year in the United States, roughly 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 15,000 die of the disease. Treatment for ovarian cancer commonly involves surgery and/or chemotherapy, but outcomes for women diagnosed with advanced disease remain poor, and researchers continue to evaluate new approaches to treatment.

About Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

Historically intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy delivers chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity. The chemotherapy is administered through a large catheter that is placed into the abdomen during the surgery to remove the cancer. Women who received both IV and IP chemotherapy typically survive more than a year longer than women who received only IV chemotherapy.2,3 Researchers have continue to search for ways to reduce side effects and catheter problems among women treated with IP chemotherapy and one solution as evaluated by the study authors is to simply give the IP therapy immediately following surgery while still in the operating room.

About The Study

In the clinical study 245 women with stage III epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer were treated with three cycles of carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy before surgery. After doctors had removed all visible cancer with surgery half the women received a warmed solution of another cisplatin chemotherapy circulated through their open abdominal cavity for 90 minutes and half did not. All the women subsequently received three more cycles of chemotherapy beginning about a month after their surgery.

The likelihood of surviving for three years after surgery was 48 percent with conventional treatment and 62 percent with the chemotherapy bath. Patients who underwent the “chemo bath” survived on average 45.7 months compared to 33.9 months for women who just received surgery and conventional chemotherapy.

Side effects between the two treatment strategies were similar however women getting the “chemo bath” spent, on average, two extra days in the hospital.

Providing a “chemo bath” with intraperitoneal chemotherapy as part of the surgery appears to be an easier albeit potentially more expensive way to improve outcomes of women with advanced ovarian cancer.


  1. ly/2rjTyL0 The New England Journal of Medicine, online January 17, 2018.
  2. Coleman, RL, Gershenson DM. “Neoplastic diseases of the ovary: Screening, benign and malignant epithelial and germ cell neoplasms, sex-cord stromal tumors. In: Katz VL, ed. Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2007: 839-77.
  3. Armstrong DK, Bundy B, Lenzel L et al. Intraperitoneal cisplatin and paclitaxel in ovarian cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2006;354:34-43.

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