Exploring international differences in ovarian cancer treatment: a comparison of clinical practice guidelines and patterns of care

Charles H Norell, John Butler, Rhonda Farrell, Alon Altman, James Bentley, Citadel J Cabasag, Paul A Cohen, Scott Fegan, Michael Fung-Kee-Fung, Charlie Gourley, Neville F Hacker, Louise Hanna, Claus Kim Høgdall, Gunnar Kristensen, Janice Kwon, Orla McNally, Gregg Nelson, Andy Nordin, Dearbhaile O'Donnell, Tine SchnackPeter H Sykes, Ewa Zotow, Samantha Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership demonstrated international differences in ovarian cancer survival, particularly for women aged 65–74 with advanced disease. These findings suggest differences in treatment could be contributing to survival disparities.Objective To compare clinical practice guidelines and patterns of care across seven high-income countries.Methods A comparison of guidelines was performed and validated by a clinical working group. To explore clinical practice, a patterns of care survey was developed. A questionnaire regarding management and potential health system-related barriers to providing treatment was emailed to gynecological specialists. Guideline and survey results were crudely compared with 3-year survival by ‘distant’ stage using Spearman’s rho.Results Twenty-seven guidelines were compared, and 119 clinicians completed the survey. Guideline-related measures varied between countries but did not correlate with survival internationally. Guidelines were consistent for surgical recommendations of either primary debulking surgery or neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval debulking surgery with the aim of complete cytoreduction. Reported patterns of surgical care varied internationally, including for rates of primary versus interval debulking, extensive/‘ultra-radical’ surgery, and perceived barriers to optimal cytoreduction. Comparison showed that willingness to undertake extensive surgery correlated with survival across countries (rs=0.94, p=0.017). For systemic/radiation therapies, guideline differences were more pronounced, particularly for bevacizumab and PARP (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase) inhibitors. Reported health system-related barriers also varied internationally and included a lack of adequate hospital staffing and treatment monitoring via local and national audits.Discussion Findings suggest international variations in ovarian cancer treatment. Characteristics relating to countries with higher stage-specific survival included higher reported rates of primary surgery; willingness to undertake extensive/ultra-radical procedures; greater access to high-cost drugs; and auditing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1748-1756
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecological Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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