High-dose chemotherapy plus peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for patients with relapsed germ cell tumors and active brain metastases

Maitri Kalra, Nabil Adra, Nasser Hanna, Rafat Abonour, Lawrence H. Einhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: The optimal management of progressive brain metastases in patients with germ cell tumors (GCTs) remains unsettled. This study reports the management of 25 consecutive patients with relapsed GCTs and progressive brain metastases undergoing high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) at Indiana University from 2006 to 2016. Methods: All patients were planned to undergo HDCT, which consisted of carboplatin at 700 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3 plus etoposide at 750 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3, followed by PBSCT on day 5 for 2 cycles. Patients were treated with brain metastectomy, stereotactic radiotherapy or whole-brain radiotherapy, HDCT alone, or a combination thereof. All 25 patients had progressive brain metastases at the time of initiating HDCT. Patient and disease characteristics, management of brain metastases, and outcomes were measured. Platelet transfusions were given to maintain platelet counts > 30,000/µL; the goal was >50,000/µL when there were signs of prior or active hemorrhaging. Results: Twenty-two of 25 patients completed both courses of HDCT. The median α-fetoprotein level was 7.5 ng/mL (range, 1.6-1130 ng/mL), and the human chorionic gonadotropin level was 31.3 IU/mL (range, 0.5-25,601 IU/mL). At a median follow-up of 24.5 months (range, 0.4-117 months), 11 patients (44%) were alive with no evidence of disease, 2 patients were alive with relapsed disease, and 12 patients had died of disease progression or complications from HDCT. Fifteen patients developed progressive brain metastases despite radiation and/or craniotomy before HDCT, and 8 of these patients were alive without evidence of disease. There were no intracranial hemorrhagic events leading to death. Conclusions: Patients with relapsed GCTs and progressive brain metastases are curable with multimodality therapy that includes HDCT and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1202-1207
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2020



  • brain metastases
  • germ cell tumors
  • high-dose chemotherapy
  • peripheral blood stem cell transplant
  • relapsed germ cell tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this