My mom (69 years old) was diagnosed with ovairan cancer 3 years ago. Her ovaries were removed and she went through 6 weeks of chemo with taxol and carboplatin. Her cancer is back and her Dr. wants to use the same chemotherapy regimen for her. Isn't there newer more effective treatments available now? Is there anything we can do to prevent her cancer from coming back or lengthen her remission period?
The most effective and commonly used chemotherapy regimen for ovarian cancer as of today still remains the combination of paclitaxel (Taxol) and carboplatin (Paraplatin).
In cases where ovary cancer relapses, we measure the time since stopping carboplatin based chemotherapy and the reappearance of ovarian cancer. This time period is called the "platinum free interval" in oncology parlance. If it is over 6 months, the tumor is potentially platinum sensitive, and if over 12 months, it is even more likely to be platinum sensitive. This means that the recurrent ovarian cancer is quite likely to respond if carboplatin based chemotherapy is repeated.
Hence the oncologists' decision to repeat carboplatin-paclitaxel in your mothers case is sound, as she has had over two and a half year of platinum free interval.
There are many other effective drugs for ovarian cancer including cisplatin, docetaxel, gemcitabine, liposomal doxorubicin, etoposide, pmetrexed, topotecan, cyclophosphamide etc. Targeted drugs like the anti-VEGF antibody bevacizumab (Avastin) is also being tried in this setting.
She is likely to respond and go into another remission, during which she must be under active surveillance with periodic imaging (CT or PET-CT) for early detection of any relapse.
All the best and God bless!!
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