Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Review State of the Art Review

Treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 09 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3773
  1. Lindsay Kuroki, assistant professor1,
  2. Saketh R Guntupalli, associate professor and director2
  1. 1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA
  2. 2Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO, USA
  1. Correspondence to: S R Guntupalli saketh.guntupalli{at}


Ovarian cancer is the third most common gynecologic malignancy worldwide but accounts for the highest mortality rate among these cancers. A stepwise approach to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment is vital to appropriate management of this disease process. An integrated approach with gynecologic oncologists as well as medical oncologists, pathologists, and radiologists is of paramount importance to improving outcomes. Surgical cytoreduction to R0 is the mainstay of treatment, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. Genetic testing for gene mutations that affect treatment is the standard of care for all women with epithelial ovarian cancer. Nearly all women will have a recurrence, and the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer continues to be nuanced and requires extensive review of up to date modalities that balance efficacy with the patient’s quality of life. Maintenance therapy with poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors, bevacizumab, and/or drugs targeting homologous recombination deficiency is becoming more widely used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, and the advancement of immunotherapy is further revolutionizing treatment targets.


  • Series explanation: State of the Art Reviews are commissioned on the basis of their relevance to academics and specialists in the US and internationally. For this reason they are written predominantly by US authors

  • Contributors: LK and SRG contributed equally to the design, development, and writing of this manuscript and guarantee authenticity of its authorship.

  • Competing interests: We have read and understood the BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: SRG has participated in advisory boards for AstraZeneca and Clovis Oncology.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription