Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) is the most impressive and frequent evidence of loco-regional spread of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). For most of its natural history, PC remains confined to the peritoneal district, thus representing a target for various combinations of surgery and systemic or loco-regional chemotherapy. PC is observed both in primary settings, i.e. in patients first treated for locally advanced EOC, and in recurrent, previously treated, EOC patients at any FIGO stage. Since 2000s, the use of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) combined with maximum cytoreduction (peritonectomy) has gradually spread in the treatment of PC from ovarian cancer, as well as for gastrointestinal carcinomatosis and primary tumours of the peritoneum. Use of combined peritonectomy + HIPEC in the treatment of ovarian carcinomatosis is the most discussed issue among those concerning peritoneal surface malignancy (PSM). The main criticism concerns the use of HIPEC, since the need for maximal cytoreduction is consolidated and does not raise any doubts. Communities of surgeon and oncologic gynaecologists who believes in the role of HIPEC have started controlled clinical trials aimed at clarifying the role of HIPEC associated to peritonectomy, but these studies are difficult to conduct and time-consuming. At present and pending the results of future prospective trials, the role and limits of application of the procedure are drawn from experiences from three basic study groups: collective reviews, multicentre studies, monocentric case studies produced by high-volume HIPEC centers. A comprehensive literature review and an in-depth analysis of our personal experience, based on the largest monocentric case series (130 cases), have helped to provide an assessment on the role of peritonectomy + HIPEC in about 2000 patients treated for initial and recurrent PC from ovarian cancer. Comparison of the overall results drawn from these studies, indicates that peritonectomy + HIPEC is able to guarantee in these patients better overall survival (OS) and higher progression-free survival (PFS) rates than those derived from traditional treatments, with acceptable morbidity and mortality. Notwithstanding, some specific aspects, including the role of chemoresistance and neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatments, should be clarified by further experience and the results of on-going trials.
Part of the book: Gynecologic Cancers