NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017
IP chemotherapy is given through a thin tube called
a catheter. The catheter is often placed inside the
abdomen during surgery. Studies have shown that
patients live longer when they are able to receive
some of their chemotherapy in this manner.
Side effects of chemotherapy
A side effect is an unhealthy or unpleasant physical
or emotional condition caused by treatment. Each
treatment for ovarian cancer can cause side effects.
How your body will respond can’t be fully known.
Some people have many side effects. Others have
few. Some side effects can be very serious while
others can be unpleasant but not serious.
The side effects of chemotherapy depend on many
factors. This includes the drug, the dose, and the
person. In general, side effects are caused by the
death of fast-growing cells, which are found in the
intestines, mouth, and blood. As a result, common
side effects include not feeling hungry, nausea,
vomiting, mouth sores, hair loss, fatigue, low blood
cell counts, increased risk of infection, bleeding or
bruising easily, and nerve damage (neuropathy).
Some side effects are more likely or more severe
when certain combination regimens are used. The
docetaxel and carboplatin regimen is more likely
to increase the risk of infection. The paclitaxel
and carboplatin regimen is more likely to cause
neuropathy. Neuropathy is a nerve problem that
causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands
and feet. Side effects also differ depending on
how chemotherapy is given. IP chemotherapy
tends to cause more severe side effects than IV
chemotherapy. This includes infections, kidney
damage, pain in the belly, and nerve damage.
Not all side effects of chemotherapy are listed here.
Be sure to ask your treatment team for a full list
of common and rare side effects of the drugs you
If a side effect bothers you, tell your treatment team.
There may be ways to help you feel better.
Targeted therapy is treatment with drugs that
target a specific or unique feature of cancer cells.
These drugs stop the action of molecules that
help cancer cells grow. Targeted therapy is less
likely to harm normal cells than chemotherapy.
Some targeted therapy drugs that are approved to
treat ovarian cancer are bevacizumab (Avastin
) and rucaparib (Rubraca™), and
). Pazopanib (Votrient
) is another
targeted therapy drug that is sometimes used for
ovarian cancer. These drugs attack cancer cells in
Bevacizumab is a type of targeted therapy called an
angiogenesis inhibitor. Angiogenesis is the growth
of new blood vessels. Like normal cells, cancer cells
need the food and oxygen delivered in blood to live
and grow. Cancer cells send out signals that cause
new blood vessels to grow into the tumor to “feed” it.
Bevacizumab blocks these signals so that new blood
vessels will not form. As a result, the cancer cells
won’t receive the blood they need to live.
Some common side effects of bevacizumab are high
blood pressure, headache, nosebleeds, runny nose,
taste changes, skin rash, dry skin, and back pain.
Rare but serious side effects include stroke, heart
attack, kidney damage, holes in the intestine, and
bleeding within the body.
Olaparib, rucaparib, and niraparib
Olaparib, rucaparib, and niraparib are a
type of targeted therapy known as PARP
olymerase) inhibitors. PARP is a
protein that helps repair damaged DNA in cells.