Undergoing chemotherapy before surgery may help women battling advanced ovarian cancer, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Sean Kehoe, M.D., professor of gynecological cancer at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues included 550 patients in the study.

About half underwent the standard treatment of surgery followed by six cycles of chemotherapy, while the other half had three cycles of chemotherapy before their surgery.

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The risk of complications and death within 28 days after surgery was lower among those who had chemotherapy before surgery, Kehoe’s team found.

They also had fewer side effects, spent less time in the hospital, and experienced a better quality of life, the findings showed.

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“Whether to have chemotherapy before major surgery for ovarian cancer has always been a dilemma for women and their surgeons,” Peter Johnson, M.D., chief clinician at Cancer Research U.K., said in a news release from the organization.

“Thanks to this study, we can say that having chemotherapy first makes the surgery safer, the stay in hospital shorter, and women’s quality of life better.”


  1. Kehoe, Sean, MD, et al. “Primary chemotherapy versus primary surgery for newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer (CHORUS): an open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial.” The Lancet. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62223-6. [epub ahead of print]. May 19, 2015.