Tamoxifen for relapse of ovarian cancer

Posted:03/29/10

BACKGROUND: Tamoxifen is an important drug for treating breast cancer. Ovarian cancer cells are known to possess receptors for hormones and may thus also respond to tamoxifen.

OBJECTIVES: Tamoxifen is used to treat breast cancer in women whose tumours have oestrogen receptors. Since ovarian cancers also commonly have oestrogen receptors, it has been suggested that tamoxifen may be of some benefit. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of tamoxifen in women with relapsed ovarian cancer.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Issue 1, 2009. Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group Trials Register, MEDLINE from 2002 to April 2009, EMBASE from 2002 to April 2009. We also searched registers of clinical trials, abstracts of scientific meetings, reference lists of review articles and contacted experts in the field, as well as drugs companies.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised and non-randomised studies of tamoxifen in women with ovarian cancer who have not responded to conventional chemotherapy. Only trials involving 10 or more patients were included.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed whether potentially relevant studies met the inclusion criteria. No trials were found and therefore no data were analysed.

MAIN RESULTS: The search strategy identified 1392 unique references of which 1360 were excluded on the basis of title and abstract. The remaining 32 articles were retrieved in full, but none satisfied the inclusion criteria. Only observational data from single arm studies of women treated with tamoxifen were reported.

AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: We are unable to make any evidence-based recommendations as we found no comparative studies assessing the effectiveness of tamoxifen in women with recurrent ovarian cancer. There is limited evidence on anti-tumour activity from phase 2 studies, but these contain no data on the effect of tamoxifen on symptom control, QOL or the prolongation of life.

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