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Clinical determinants of survival in New Zealand women with ovarian cancer

A 2019/2020 Summer Studentship research project

This study is part of a national collaboration and will assist clinicians understand the clinical factors associated with poor survival for NZ women with ovarian cancer. It will also assist in the establishment of a set of quality indicators that as part of a national initiative in the future will be measured prospectively. It will therefore provide a foundation for the monitoring of quality care for women with ovarian cancer. The long term aim of course is to improve outcomes for NZ with ovarian cancer.

Student: Grace Sullivan
Supervisors: Associate Professor Peter Sykes, Dr Bryony Simcock, Dr Carrie Innes, Dr Simone Petrich (Dunedin), Dr Parick Keating (Wellington)
Sponsor: Estate of Maree Elizabeth Britten (via the Cancer Society of New Zealand, Canterbury-West Coast Division Inc.)


Ovarian cancer is the commonest cause of death for women with gynaecological cancer. Recent reviews of outcome have shown that survival for New Zealand women with ovarian cancer has changed little over the last 10 years, however in Australia and other comparable countries over the same period, survival has improved. In order to improve outcomes, it is important to understand the measurable clinical determinants of survival in a recent cohort of New Zealand Women.


To collate clinical data and outcomes for a cohort of women with Ovarian cancer diagnosed in New Zealand in 2016. In particular to document certain aspects of clinical care against a set of proposed quality indicators, many of which can be compared with other populations outside New Zealand.


The 2013 “national standards for the provision of care for women with gynaecological cancer” dictate that all women with a new diagnosis of gynaecological cancer are discussed at and managed in conjunction with a regional gynae oncology Multi-Disciplinary Meeting (MDM). All women with ovarian cancer managed in conjunction with gynaecological cancer MDMs in Christchurch Dunedin and Wellington in 2016 will be identified. Their clinical notes will be searched and a predetermined set of clinical data will be collected. This will include demographic, patient related, disease related, clinical care related and outcome data. The data will be collected in a simple database deidentified and analyzed. The data collected in this study will be combined and compared with a similar database collected in Auckland. These combined 2 studies will provide a national dataset

Student researcher’s component of the study

The student will be responsible for providing a brief summary of the literature regarding clinical indicators of outcome for women with ovarian cancer, liaising with the supervisors to develop a database or spreadsheet, to identify the cohort of women with Ovarian cancer diagnosed in 2016, reviewing electronic clinical notes and recording the predetermined clinical dataset in the database. With the assistance of the supervisors the data will be analysed and a report produced.

Student Prerequisites

Preferably medical student with some clinical experience and familiarity with excel spreadsheets or basic databases.

How to apply