Background: Transfusion related immune modulation associated with red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is thought to result in decreased cancer survival. Results in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) have been mixed however most suggest worse oncologic outcomes in patients who were transfused at the time of debulking surgery. The impact of restrictive transfusion strategies on this patient population is currently not known. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of women with EOC. The study population was divided into two groups based on whether they were transfused RBCs during the peri-operative period or not. Clinical characteristics and prognosticators were compared between groups. Overall survival was compared between groups based on transfusion status and other known prognostic factors. Cox proportional hazard modeling was used to examine the association between the prognostic factors and the study endpoint. Results: Sixty-six percent of women were transfused. Transfusion was associated with CA125, the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT), surgical blood loss, and anemia. The mean pre-transfusion Hgb was 7.8 + 0.6 g/dL and 94% had a hemoglobin level greater than the transfusion threshold of 7 g/dL. RBC transfusion, suboptimal debulking, anemia, and NACT were associated with decreased survival. Only RBC transfusion and suboptimal debulking status remained significant in a multivariate model. Conclusions: Peri-operative RBC transfusion compromises survival in ovarian cancer supporting the need to minimize the use of transfusion at the time of debulking surgery. Adherence to evidence-based transfusion guidelines offers an opportunity to reduce transfusion rates in this population with a resulting positive influence on survival.
- Ovarian cancer
- Patient blood management