Foster T, Brown TM, Chang J, Menssen HD, Blieden MB, Herzog TJ. A review of the current evidence for maintenance therapy in ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Nov 1;115:290-301.

OBJECTIVES: Ovarian cancer (OC) typically is diagnosed at advanced stages, in which the primary goal of therapy is to prolong progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). In recent years, maintenance therapy has been tested for this purpose in advanced OC (AOC). Literature on maintenance therapy in AOC was systematically reviewed to assess current knowledge regarding the impact of this therapeutic approach.

METHODS: A MEDLINE search was performed 2/2009 for articles published 1/2001-1/2009 pertaining to OC maintenance therapy guidelines, patterns, and outcomes. A second search used keywords specific to maintenance and included primary studies published in the last 10 years. Of 406 sources identified, 36 primary studies and 16 review articles were included in this systematic review. A third search used the keyword "consolidation" to find maintenance articles not identified through other searches; of 48 additional sources, 13 primary studies and 6 reviews were included. A fourth search of non-MEDLINE-indexed sources yielded 14 additional relevant publications from the same time period.

RESULTS: Among practice guidelines identified, only the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) 2008 guidelines provide recommendations regarding maintenance therapy, assigning it a category 2B recommendation. No studies were identified that reported current treatment patterns or economic outcomes in maintenance therapy; quality of life data were reported in one study. A variety of agents have been tested for maintenance, with paclitaxel the most commonly evaluated. The Southwest Oncology Group-Gynecologic Oncology Group 178 trial has found that 12 cycles of paclitaxel extend PFS (by 7 months) compared to 3 months paclitaxel, but could not adequately evaluate OS.

CONCLUSIONS: Maintenance therapy may improve clinical outcomes in AOC, but additional research is needed to demonstrate an OS advantage. Future studies should investigate the long-term clinical benefit of maintenance treatment and its impact on resource utilization and health-related quality of life.

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