Nonplatinum chemotherapy agents more likely to lead to hospitalizations for older women with ovarian cancer

Research Activities, June 2010, No. 358

The National Institutes of Health recommends that women who are diagnosed with stage IC to IV ovarian cancer receive chemotherapy. However, a new study finds that older women who are treated with nonplatinum chemotherapy drugs for their ovarian cancer may run a higher risk of being hospitalized for conditions like dehydration or anemia than women who receive either platinum chemotherapy or no chemotherapy at all.

Xianglin L. Du, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Texas School of Public Health and colleagues studied 9,361 women aged 65 or older who were diagnosed with stage I to IV ovarian cancer from 1991 to 2002. Of the 1,694 patients who received nonplatinum chemotherapy, 8 percent ended up in the hospital because of a gastrointestinal ailment such as dehydration, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. In comparison, 6.6 percent of the 1,363 women who received platinum-based chemotherapy and 6.4 percent of the 3,094 women who received platinum-taxane therapy were hospitalized with stomach complaints.

Women who received nonplatinum chemotherapy were also more likely to be hospitalized for infections than women who received platinum-based chemotherapy. Finally, women who received platinum-taxane chemotherapy or no chemotherapy were less at risk than women who received nonplatinum-based chemotherapy for a hospital stay for hematologic problems including anemia, neutropenia (low white blood cell count), and thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count). The authors suggest that these findings may have clinical implications for deciding which chemotherapy course to prescribe for older women with ovarian cancer. This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16743).

See "Risk of hospitalizations associated with adverse effects of chemotherapy in a large community-based cohort of elderly women with ovarian cancer," by Zhannat Nurgalieva, M.D., M.P.H., Chih-Chih Liu, M.S., and Dr. Du in the November 2009 International Journal of Gynecological Cancer 19(8), pp. 1314-1321.

Current as of June 2010
Internet Citation: Nonplatinum chemotherapy agents more likely to lead to hospitalizations for older women with ovarian cancer: Research Activities, June 2010, No. 358. June 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jun10/0610RA5.html