Ovarian cancer detection study disputed

Bradley Monk, a gynecologic oncologist at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, is warning that a study published in The Lancet last month, which reported that women who received early chemotherapy for a recurrence of ovarian cancer did not live longer than those whose treatment is delayed, should be viewed “cautiously.”

His primary problem with it is that the study was begun back in 1996, when modern therapies were not available. Not only that, but regulatory and financial barriers prevented access to some therapies in some countries. So the conclusion, Monk says, that early detection of ovarian cancer does no good is based on many faulty assumptions about access to treatment, and on outdated methods.

“Our focus should no longer be on standard chemotherapy, but on targeted genetics-based treatments,” Monk said in a news release. He and Dr. Robert Morris, of Wayne State University in Detroit, wrote that finding the relevant therapy is far more important than timing when treating ovarian cancer.

- read the article
- and read the editorial in The Lancet (free registration)