For patients with recurrent ovarian cancer (OC), pain is associated with both quality of life (QOL) and overall survival (OS), according to the results of a study recently published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

The study was a meta-analysis of data from 3 separate phase 2/3 trials of the North-Eastern German Society of Gynecological Oncology. QLQ-C30 questionnaire and survival data from 952 patients with recurrent OC were evaluated by regression analyses.

A total of 36.6% of patients reported moderate to severe pain (QLQ-C30 level 50 or higher). Pain was significantly associated with lower global QOL (P <.001). This was reflected in reportedly greater physical, emotional, social, and financial difficulties for patients with pain.

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Although pain did not appear related to progression-free survival (P =.13), pain did show a significant association with OS. Patients who had pain showed a median OS of 18.2 months (95% CI, 15.49-20.91), but patients without pain showed a median OS of 22.0 months (95% CI, 19.80-24.20; P =.01). Pain was also an independent predictor of lower OS in multivariate analyses (hazard ratio, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.05-1.48; P =.013).

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The median OS was 15.0 months for patients who continued to have pain while on pain medication. This was significantly shorter than the median OS (23.0 months) for patients without pain who did not require pain medication (P =.004).

Based on these results, the researchers stated in their report, “this study underlines the urgent need for effective pain management for both quality of life and overall survival in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.”


Woopen H, Richter R, Inci G, Alavi S, Chekerov R, Sehouli J. The prognostic and predictive role of pain before systemic chemotherapy in recurrent ovarian cancer: an individual participant data meta-analysis of the North-Eastern German Society of Gynecological Oncology (NOGGO) of 1226 patients [published online August 5, 2019]. Support Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-05000-y