• Vol. 27 No. 5, 645–649
  • 15 September 1998

Single Agent Paclitaxel in Resistant and Relapsed Epithelial Ovarian Cancer After First-line Platinum-based Chemotherapy—Experience in an Asian Population



The efficacy and toxicity profile of paclitaxel (Taxol®) was studied in 33 Singaporean women with epithelial ovarian carcinoma who had either failed to respond or relapsed after an initial response to first-line chemotherapy with combined platinum and cyclophosphamide. Paclitaxel was given intravenously as a single agent at a dose of 200 mg/m2 over 3 hours, with standard pre-medication, at 4 weekly intervals. A total of 102 cycles were administered. The median number of cycles was 3 (range 1 to 8) per patient. Twenty-six patients were eligible for response evaluation. Six (23.2%) patients showed a complete response and 4 (15.4%) showed a partial response. Two (7.7%) patients had stable disease and 14 (53.8%) patients had progressive disease. The response rate was 22.2% (2 of 9 patients) for patients with progressive disease while on the first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, 37.5% (3 of 8 patients) for patients with response-relapse interval of less than 6 months, 40.0% (2 of 5 patients) for patients with response-relapse interval of 6 to 12 months, and 75% (3 of 4 patients) for patients with response-relapse interval of more than 12 months. The median duration of survival was 10 months for the entire cohort of patients, but all complete responders and 75% of partial responders survived the duration of the study period of 24 months, compared to 50% of patients with stable disease and 7% of patients with progressive disease. Toxicity of paclitaxel treatment was evaluated in 102 cycles. Grade 3 or 4 alopecia, grade 1 or 2 sensory peripheral neuropathy and mild facial flush occurred in all patients. Haematological toxicity was mild, with 9.8% of the cycles complicated by grade 3 or 4 neutropenia. Bone marrow suppression was of short duration. No treatment delay or dose modification was needed.

It is concluded that the effectiveness of paclitaxel for salvage treatment of patients with resistant or relapsed epithelial ovarian carcinoma after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy among Asian patients is comparable to that reported in Western populations. The treatment was well tolerated by our patients. It should be considered the chemotherapy of choice for patients with relapsed ovarian cancer after prior platinum-based chemotherapy.

Ovarian carcinoma ranks fourth among causes of death in women and is the leading cause of death from gynaecological malignancies in Western countries. In Singapore, the incidence of this cancer has been rising for the last 25 years.

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