Cytoreductive surgery is beneficial because it reduces the number of cancer cells that ultimately need to be destroyed by chemotherapy and therefore, decreases the likelihood of the cancer developing a resistance to chemotherapy. Initial cytoreductive surgery in ovarian cancer is currently considered the standard of care because clinical studies have shown that patients who have had optimal cytoreductive surgery live longer and have a more prolonged time to cancer recurrence than patients who have had suboptimal cytoreductive surgery.
Following cytoreductive surgery, all patients with Stage IV ovarian cancer are offered additional treatment. This is because the majority of patients will experience recurrence of their cancer even after complete surgical resection. Nearly all patients with Stage IV disease have cancer that was not removed by surgery. An effective treatment is needed to eliminate the remaining cancer in order to improve the outcome achieved with surgical removal of the cancer. Currently, this treatment is chemotherapy.