Long-term results of fertility-sparing treatment compared with standard radical surgery for early-stage epithelial ovarian cancer
We retrospectively investigated the outcome of ovarian cancer in women aged less than 40 years treated in three randomised phase III studies of platinum-based chemotherapy. 624 patients had invasive epithelial ovarian cancer. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to study prognostic variables. 29 women (5%) were under 40 years of age. Stage, histological grade and amount of residual disease were significantly worse in women aged > or = 40 years. Median follow-up was 66.7 months. At 5 years 65% of women below 40 years of age were alive compared with 20% of older women (95% confidence interval (CI) of the difference 27.1-63.0). The progression-free interval was 59% versus 16% (95% CI 24.3-60.8). No patient under 40 years of age relapsed after 18 months. Age > or = 40 years was a poor prognostic variable, particularly for serous tumours, the commonest subtype in younger women (hazard ratio (HR): 3.33). Other prognostic factors were Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (HR: 1.25), presence of residual disease (HR: 1.43), histological grade (HR: 1.36) and International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage (HR: 1.47). These results suggest that there are biological differences in the behaviour of serous carcinoma of the ovary in women of reproductive age compared with older women.