Patient preferences for attributes of primary surgical debulking versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy for treatment of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer

Laura J. Havrilesky*, Jui Chen Yang, Paula S. Lee, Angeles Alvarez Secord, Jessie A. Ehrisman, Brittany Davidson, Andrew Berchuck, Kathleen M. Darcy, G. Larry Maxwell, Shelby D. Reed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Randomized trials have reported conflicting findings on survival for advanced-stage ovarian cancer treated with primary debulking surgery (PDS) versus neoadjuvant chemotherapy with interval debulking; surgical complications and mortality are higher with PDS. We assessed women's preferences for tradeoffs related to this important clinical decision. Methods: Ovarian cancer patients were recruited to complete a discrete-choice experiment (DCE) consisting of 8 choice tasks presenting experimentally designed treatment alternatives in terms of treatment order, extent of surgery including risk of ostomy, chance of death from surgical complications (1%-10%), readmission for surgical complications (5%-50%), progression-free survival (1-3 years), and overall survival (3-5 years). Random-parameters logit regression was applied to model participants' choices as a function of attribute levels. Results: A total of 101 ovarian cancer survivors completed the DCE survey; of these participants, 30% were receiving chemotherapy at the time, and 33% had prior recurrence. Overall survival was of greatest importance to participants (36/100), followed by risk of readmission due to complications (23/100), progression-free survival (19/100), surgical mortality (16/100), extent of surgery (4/100), and order of surgery and chemotherapy (2/100). Overall, the participants would tolerate a 15-percentage point increase in risk of major complications (95% confidence interval [CI], 3%-29%) or a 4-percentage point increase in the risk of surgical mortality (95% CI, 2%-13%) in order to increase their expected overall survival from 3 to 3.5 years. Conclusions: Patients would accept a moderately higher risk of perioperative complications and surgical mortality in exchange for substantial gains in survival. These quantitative findings provide clinicians with a framework to discuss preferences with patients and to incorporate preferences into clinical trial design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4399-4406
Number of pages8
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • ovarian cancer
  • patient preferences
  • primary debulking


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