Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer

Chemotherapy is one of the main treatments for ovarian cancer. It may be given before or after surgery. These drugs work by killing all fast-growing cells in your body.  

Keep in mind that you may not get any or even most of the possible side effects of a drug. Be sure to tell your health care team about the side effects you do have.

These are the chemotherapy drugs for ovarian cancer that have been approved as of July 2021. New treatments become available all the time, so this may not be a complete list. 

Search by Drug Name

Treatment Type

Platinum-based

Drug Names
Paraplatin® (Carboplatin)
Platinol® (Cisplatin)
Important Things to Know
  • For most patients, their first chemotherapy treatment will be a platinum drug plus a taxane.
  • Low blood counts are a potential side effect that may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding. 

Treatment Type

Taxanes

Drug Names
Abraxane® (albumin-bound paclitaxel, nab-paclitaxel)
Taxol® (Paclitaxel)
Taxotere® (Docetaxel)
Important Things to Know
  • This chemo may help keep cancer cells from repairing their damaged DNA, causing them to die.
  • Low blood counts are a potential side effect that may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding.

Treatment Type

Anti-metabolites

Drug Names
Alimta® (Pemetrexed)
Gemzar® (Gemcitabine)
Infugem™ (Gemcitabine)
Potential Severe Side Effects
Lung problems
Important Things to Know
  • A fever may occur within the first 24 hours of administration.
  • Low blood counts (especially platelets) are a potential side effect. Low blood counts may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding.
  • Lung problems are a rare but serious possible side effect.                

Treatment Type

Anthracyclines

Drug Names
Doxil® (Liposomal doxorubicin)
Potential Severe Side Effects
Congestive heart failure
Important Things to Know
  • This chemo can increase the risk of heart problems. You may have to switch to a different chemo or get an additional medicine to help protect your heart.
  • Low blood counts are a potential side effect that may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding.      

Treatment Type

Alkylating Agents

Drug Names
Cytoxan® (Cyclophosphamide)
Ifex® (Ifosfamide)
Important Things to Know
  • Low blood counts are a potential side effect that may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding.

Treatment Type

Microtubule Inhibitors

Drug Names
Important Things to Know
  • If you have pain in your veins, ask about getting a port.
  • Low blood counts are a potential side effect that may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding.
  • Pain may occur at the tumor site after infusion.                 

Treatment Type

Topoisomerase Inhibitors

Drug Names
Etoposide (VP-16)
Camptosar® (CPT-11, Irinotecan)
Hycamtin® (Topotecan)
Important Things to Know
  • Low blood counts are a potential side effect that may put you at risk for anemia, infection, or bleeding.