Thursday, December 30, 2021

Blogging for 14 years


I-Stock graphic


 It seems like only yesterday when I wrote, 

"Today I took the plunge and decided to make this blog. I guess you could say it is an early New Year's resolution. In addition to sharing my thoughts on this journey, I will post links and information relevant to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in New Jersey."

It was December 30, 2007, fourteen years ago.

This year as in 2020 meetings and conferences were virtual so many of my posts dealt with what I learned in those virtual meetings. I admit I miss meeting in person the researchers, gynecologic oncologists and advocates I respect and admire. I hope as more people are vaccinated and boosted and omicron lessens we can go back to meeting face to face.

When I looked at my stats for this year, I found my blog was viewed 33,000 times in 2021. My top five most viewed posts in 2021 include:

As I look back,  I see that during certain years,  I wrote more frequently than at other times. It seems as my advocacy roles on Review Boards, Data Review Committees, Citizen Scientist Committees, presenting at meetings and moderating the #gyncsm Community with Christina grew, the number of blog posts dropped. I am not sure what 2022 will bring, but  I will continue to strive to stay true to that original statement as long as my followers find the information helpful.

I'll catch you in January with my aspirations for 2022 .
Stay Safe and Stay Well!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Let's talk about Secondary Cytoreductive Surgery DESKTOP results and more...

As many of you know when I recurred on my liver and spleen, I chose to have surgery followed by chemo. I made that decision after being offered three options.  Option 1 surgery first then chemo ( carbo /taxol). Option 2 chemo first then surgery.  And a clinical trial (GOG 213 ). I chose surgery first followed by chemotherapy.

The question about the benefits of a second surgery on recurrence has been ongoing. Last year at the SGO meeting there was a excellent discussion of the pros and cons given by Dr Gardner and Dr Coleman during the Education Forum. See this blog post

Two of the trials that were discussed during the Forum included SOC-1 and GOG-213 .

SOC 1 

"Eligible participants were randomly assigned (1:1)... to undergo secondary cytoreductive surgery followed by intravenous chemotherapy (six 3-weekly cycles of intravenous paclitaxel [175 mg/m2] or docetaxel [75 mg/m2] combined with intravenous carboplatin [area under the curve of 5 mg/mL per min]; surgery group) or intravenous chemotherapy alone (no surgery group)."

The reported results showed a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 17.4 months in patients who had surgery and 11.9 months among those who did not have surgery. The trial has not yet reported Overall Survival (OS) numbers. 

Conclusion: "Secondary cytoreduction followed by chemotherapy was associated with significantly longer progression-free survival than was chemotherapy alone in patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer,..."

GOG 213 

"The GOG-0213 trial is an open-label, phase 3, multicenter, international, randomized clinical trial designed to assess two clinically relevant hypotheses: that bevacizumab added to paclitaxel and carboplatin chemotherapy followed by maintenance bevacizumab improves overall survival (chemotherapy objective) and that secondary surgical cytoreduction in platinum-sensitive, surgically amenable patients improves overall survival (surgical objective)."

This study did not show any significant difference in PFS or OS in those who had secondary surgery and those who did not.


"In this trial involving patients with platinum-sensitive, recurrent ovarian cancer, secondary surgical cytoreduction followed by chemotherapy did not result in longer overall survival than chemotherapy alone."


 Earlier this month, the DESKTOP trial results was reported in the NEJM.

This trial involved "first re- lapse after a platinum-free interval ... of 6 months or more to undergo secondary cytoreductive surgery and then receive platinum-based chemotherapy or to receive platinum- based chemotherapy alone. Patients were eligible if they presented with a positive Arbeitsgemeinschaft Gynäkologische Onkologie (AGO) score, defined as an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance-status score of 0 (on a 5-point scale, with higher scores indicating greater disability), ascites of less than 500 ml, and complete resection at initial surgery."

In the study the median OS was 53.7 months for those who had surgery and 46.0 months in those that did not have surgery.  Patients with a complete resection (all visible disease removed) had a median overall survival of 61.9 months.


"In women with recurrent ovarian cancer, cytoreductive surgery followed by chemotherapy resulted in longer overall survival than chemotherapy alone. "

An editorial written by Drs Gardner and Chi ( also in the NEJM) regarding the DESKTOP trial and the SOC and GOG trials provides an excellent analysis of the differences in trial design, patient selection, quality of surgery and use of bevacizumab.

I may be biased, since my second surgery has kept me disease free for years, but I hope going forward secondary surgery, where appropriate, is included in all discussions between women with recurrent ovarian cancer and their gynecologic oncologists. 

Thank you Drs Lars Henning (@mdlhenning) and Maria Kfoury (@kfoury) for the Twitter discussion on the DESKTOP results.

Every Day is a Blessing!