BACKGROUND:The dose intensity of chemotherapy for patients with ovarian carcinoma remains a controversial issue. Few randomised trials have been conducted examining dose intensity using the same total dose of chemotherapy. This study was designed to investigate two schedules of chemotherapy using standard and higher dose intensity with both groups receiving the same total dose. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Patients with FIGO stage IC, II, III and IV epithelial ovarian carcinoma were randomised to receive cycles of cyclophosphamide (600 mg/m2) and carboplatin (300 mg/m2) alternating with doxorubicin (50 mg/ m2) and ifosfamide (5 g/m2) at either four-weekly (n = 47) or three-weekly (n = 97) intervals (1:2 randomisation). At randomisation patients were stratified according to histological grade and amount of post operative residual tumour (greater or less than 2 cm). The two arms of the study were well balanced in terms of the major prognostic features. RESULTS:There was no difference in either progression free survival or overall survival between the two arms. The median overall survival was 730 days for the three-weekly treatment and 740 days in the four-weekly arm (progression-free survival was 500 days and 483 days, respectively). The combined overall response rate (complete and partial response) in the 114 assessable patients was 65.7% (66.7% for the three-weekly treatment and 64% for the four-weekly treatment). These differences were not statistically different. CONCLUSIONS:A modest increase in the dose intensity of chemotherapy (1:3 fold) failed to improve the response rate, progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with ovarian carcinoma.