Between March 1982 and March 1987, 26 patients with minimal residual epithelial ovarian cancer after cisplatin-based chemotherapy were treated with whole-abdomen irradiation [moving-strip technique (MST)] with or without pelvic boost. Prior to radiation residual disease was macroscopic (less than or equal to 0.5 cm) in 8 cases and microscopic (positive random biopsies) in 18 cases (8 diffuse, 10 localized). Eighty percent of patients completed the planned therapy, 34% with interruptions secondary to hematologic or gastrointestinal toxicity. With a median follow-up time from completion of radiotherapy of 24 months, 34.6% of patients remain alive. The 3-year survival rates (from the second-look procedure) are 50% for the patients with microscopic tumor and 25% for those with macroscopic residual disease. Progression-free intervals are statistically different in the two groups: 16.9 months for microscopic residuals and 6.16 months for macroscopic tumors (P = 0.037). All but two of the recurrences were in the irradiated field (pelvis and/or abdomen); one was distant (pleural) and one only retroperitoneal. Small bowel injury was the most limiting complication: 3.8% was registered as fatal acute enteritis and 19% as late obstruction or malabsorption syndrome, necessitating surgical intervention in 10% of treated cases.
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