(HealthDay News) — Intraperitoneal chemotherapy significantly improves survival among women with advanced ovarian cancer; however, fewer than half of eligible U.S. patients are receiving it, according to research published online August 3 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The investigators studied whether a combination of intraperitoneal (IP) and intravenous (IV) chemotherapy was as effective in clinical practice as in a clinical trial involving women who’d had surgery for stage III ovarian cancer. The researchers examined the medical records of 823 women who were treated for stage III ovarian cancer between 2003–2012, and were eligible for IP/IV combination therapy.

The team found that 81% of women who received the dual therapy were alive three years after treatment, compared with 71% of those who received IV chemotherapy alone. However, only 41% of the patients who were deemed to be suitable candidates actually received the dual therapy, the team reported. The investigators also found that the side effects of the dual therapy were less severe than those reported in the clinical trial.

“This is the first study to show that IP/IV chemotherapy improves survival in the real world, outside of a clinical trial,” first author Alexi Wright, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said in an institute news release. “Unfortunately, fewer than half of women who qualify for IP/IV chemotherapy received the treatment. This suggests that increasing access to IP/IV chemotherapy may improve ovarian cancer patients’ survival.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies.

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