January 3, 1996

Media Contact: Sarah Goodwin at 404/727-5686, e-mail:

Results from a clinical trial involving nearly 400 women reveal that a new chemotherapy regimen can extend the life of an advanced ovarian cancer patient by as much as 50 percent. Reported in the January 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the study shows that women were able to lengthen their average survival time by 13 months. The median survival period is 24.4 months for women receiving the standard treatment of cisplatin and cyclophosphamide. The new regimen, consisting of the drug paclitaxel (Taxol) combined with cisplatin, stretched median survival time to 37.5 months.

The study was conducted by William McGuire, M.D., professor of medicine, Winship Cancer Center of Emory University, in conjunction with the Gynecologic Oncology Group of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. McGuire presented his findings last May at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Los Angeles. Today's NEJM contains the first published report of the trials.

This is the first time in more than 15 years, since cisplatin was developed and incorporated into the initial therapy of ovarian cancer, that these patients have shown a notable improvement in survival. "The knowledge we have gained in this trial makes improving cure rates a far more realistic goal," says Dr. McGuire. Physicians are now evaluating paclitaxel for use as a primary treatment in early stages of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other female reproductive system cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 14,500 women will have died of the disease in 1995, and 26,000 new cases will have been diagnosed.

The Winship Cancer Center is dedicated to the integration of innovative clinical and basic research with outstanding patient care for the prevention, treatment and control of cancer. Winship Cancer Center is part of Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
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