Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the United States and is the country's fifth most common cause of cancer mortality in women. In 2015, it is estimated that more than 21,000 new diagnoses and more than 14,000 deaths from this neoplasm will occur in the United States; less than 40 percent of women with ovarian cancer are cured.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has published the 20th annual edition of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Ovarian Cancer -- one of the original NCCN Guidelines® published in November 1996.
"There have been a number of advancements in the treatment of ovarian cancer since the first NCCN Guidelines were published in 1996," said Robert J. Morgan Jr, MD, FACP, Professor of Medical Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope, and Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Ovarian Cancer. "One major development is the recommendation for intraperitoneal chemotherapy in certain patient populations. Now a category 1 designation, this treatment recommendation was added to the Guidelines when strong evidence was published that showed this treatment approach to have a major improvement on the median survival in women."
Dr. Morgan, who has served as the NCCN Guidelines Panel Chair for Ovarian Cancer for 20 years, remarked that surgical principles for ovarian cancer have changed since the first NCCN Guidelines were published. In the original version, he explained, there was marked disagreement regarding the role of complete surgical staging in low-stage cancer with a category 3 recommendation. "Since that time, the role of surgery has become clearer, and complete surgical staging and/or debulking is now recommended for virtually all patients who are suspected of having any residual disease."
A third major impact on the treatment recommendations for ovarian cancer since 1996 is the addition of bevacizumab and bevacizumab-containing regimens to the NCCN Guidelines. Because improvement in progression-free survival rather than overall survival may be an acceptable treatment outcome, explained Dr. Morgan, bevacizumab-containing regimens are listed; however, these regimens may have differing category 2A, 2B, or 3 recommendations due to the strength of published evidence showing an improvement depending on when in the course of treatment the regimens are used.
"NCCN is proud to have played a role in the advancement treatment of women with ovarian cancer since the first NCCN Guidelines were published in 1996," said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. "We applaud Dr. Morgan and panel for their decades of service and dedication to improving the outcomes for women with such a deadly disease."
In addition to the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer, NCCN also offers the following resources for clinicians and patients: NCCN Guidelines for Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian and NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Ovarian Cancer.
Today, NCCN develops and maintains 60 NCCN Guidelines, covering 97% of malignant cancers affecting people in the United States. The NCCN Guidelines are developed and updated through an evidence-based process in which the expert panels integrate comprehensive clinical and scientific data with the judgment of the multidisciplinary panel members and other experts drawn from NCCN Member Institutions.
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