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Meigs to modern times: The evolution of debulking surgery in advanced ovarian cancer

      Highlights

      • Meigs' original surgical approach to ovarian cancer is described.
      • Evolution of the presumed benefits for debulking are discussed.
      • Modern refinements of surgical indications and techniques are examined.

      Abstract

      Joe V. Meigs was a visionary clinician and an early adopter of radical techniques in the surgical treatment of ovarian cancer. His 1934 textbook “Tumors of the Female Pelvic Organs”, consolidated his approach to this “hopeless” disease, with pearls on diagnosis, outcomes, and even speculations about the benefits of minimally invasive surgery. Decades before adjuvant chemotherapy would prove of value, and in an era when sophisticated statistics were unheard of, he nonetheless tried to eke out what benefits he could using the methods available in his time. We transition his original findings and observations through the advent of platinum-based chemotherapy, retrospective cohort studies supporting the benefits of primary debulking, and finally the long-awaited randomized controlled trial. We aim to provide historical context for the underpinnings of how cytoreductive surgery has evolved into its current role in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.

      Keywords

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