Ovarian cancer is the third most common gynaecological cancer worldwide, with an age-standardised incidence rate of 6.1 per 10,000 women. Standard therapy for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) includes a combination of cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. Cytoreductive surgery aims to remove as much of the visible tumour as possible. As extensive intraperitoneal metastases are typical of advanced EOC, cytoreductive surgery is usually an extensive procedure with the risk of excessive bleeding. Tranexamic acid given perioperatively is effective in reducing blood loss and allogeneic blood transfusion requirements in a variety of surgical settings. Therefore, tranexamic acid seems to be a promising agent for minimising blood loss and the need for blood transfusion among women with advanced EOC undergoing cytoreductive surgery.
To assess the effects of tranexamic acid for reducing blood loss associated with cytoreductive surgery in women with advanced EOC (stage III to IV).
We searched the Cochrane Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancers Trial Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Issue 5, 2015), MEDLINE, EMBASE and conference proceedings to May 2015. We also checked registers of clinical trials, citation lists of included studies, key textbooks and previous systematic reviews for potentially relevant studies.
We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing tranexamic acid given during surgery versus placebo or no treatment, in adult women diagnosed with advanced EOC.
Two review authors (CK, AS) independently selected potentially relevant trials, extracted data, assessed risk of bias, compared results and resolved disagreements by discussion.
We found only one study that met our inclusion criteria. This was a randomised double blind, placebo-controlled multicentre study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a single dose of intravenous tranexamic acid (15 mg/kg body weight) versus placebo, given immediately before surgery for reducing blood loss and the need for red blood cell transfusion. The mean total estimated blood loss was 668.34 mL and 916.93 mL for participants assigned to tranexamic acid and placebo groups, respectively. The mean difference (MD) of total estimated blood loss between the groups did not show a clinically important effect (MD - 248.59 mL; 95% confidence interval (CI) - 550.9 to 53.79; one study, 100 participants; moderate quality evidence). The mean number of transfused units of blood components was not different between the two groups (low quality evidence). There were no noted differences in the incidence of reoperation, readmission or thromboembolic events (very low quality evidence). We considered the methodology of the included study to be at low risk of selection, detection, and reporting biases. However, we were concerned about an imbalance of some baseline characteristics between the groups, and as there was no protocol for blood transfusion, the rate of blood transfusion may vary depending on the practice of each participating hospital.
Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of tranexamic acid for reducing blood loss in women undergoing cytoreductive surgery for advanced EOC, as only limited data are available from a single, low quality RCT at low overall risk of bias.