Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Cancer and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Intraoperative radiotherapy electron boost in advanced and recurrent epithelial ovarian carcinoma: a retrospective study

Ying Gao, Zi Liu*, Xi Chen, Wei Luo, Long Zhang and Juan Wang

Author Affiliations

The Department of Radiotherapy Oncology in the 1st Affiliated Hospital of Medical College of Xi'an Jiao Tong University, Xi'an, 710061, China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2011, 11:439  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-439

Published: 11 October 2011



Relapses of epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) have a poor prognosis and are almost always fatal. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcome and toxicity of intraoperative electron beam radiation therapy (IOERT) in advanced and recurrent EOC.


Forty-five women with EOC were treated with IOERT. Twenty-five patients had primary disease (PD) without distant metastasis at IOERT, and 20 patients had an isolated local recurrence (ILR) after surgery. All 45 patients in this series underwent optimal cytoreductive (≤ 1 cm) surgery. The whole pelvic (WP) radiotherapy was intraoperatively delivered using 12 Mev electron beam; 43 patients received 18-20 Gy and two patients received 10 Gy. Thirty-three patients received postoperateive intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy, while seven patients received intravenous (IV) chemotherapy. Five patients refused concurrent chemotherapy. Overall survival (OS) rates were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method.


Tumor recurrence and metastasis were observed in 16 patients (35.6%). Of those, 14 patients (31.1%) relapsed and two patients (4.4%) had distant metastasis alone. Eight of 25 (32%) local failures were observed in the PD group, as compared to 6/20 (30%) in the ILR group (P = 0.885). Actuarial local control at five year follow-up was 31/45 (68.9%). Seventeen of the total 45 (37.8%) patients died. Nine of 25 (36%) in the PD group died, as compared to 8 of 20 (40%) in the ILR group. The 5-year OS and disease-free survival (DFS) rates were 28/45 (62.2%) and 25/45 (55.6%), respectively. In the PD group, the 5-year OS and DFS rates were 16/25 (64%) and 14/25 (56%) (P > 0.05, vs. the ILR group at 12/20 and 11/20, respectively). The OS and DFS in the IOERT plus IP group were 25/33 (75.8%) and 23/33 (69.7%), respectively, which were superior to the rates achieved with IOERT plus IV chemotherapy (P < 0.05, 2/7 and 1/7, respectively). The major complication of IOERT was neuropathy. Five (11.1%) patients developed peripheral neurotoxicity.


IOERT may be feasible and effective as a boosting technique for advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer. IOERT plus IP chemotherapy may achieve high locoregional disease control and survival benefit with a low risk of toxicity. Peripheral nerves in the IOERT field are dose-limiting structures requiring nerve protection policies or a dose compromise to ensure against severe neurological damage.