Long-term outcome of patients with relapsed and refractory germ cell tumors treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow rescue

E. Randolph Broun, Craig R. Nichols, Patricia Kneebone, Stephen D. Williams, Patrick J. Loehrer, Lawrence H. Einhorn, Guido J.K. Tricot

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Objective: To review the long-term outcome of patients with recurrent and refractory germ cell tumors treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow rescue. ■ Design: Cohort study. ■ Setting: A university hospital. ■ Patients: Forty consecutive patients with recurrent or refractory germ cell tumors treated at Indiana University between September 1986 and June 1989. ■ Interventions: Patients were treated with high-dose carboplatin (900 to 2000 mg/m2 body surface area) and etoposide (1200 mg/m2). Three patients also received ifosfamide (10g/m2). All patients had autologous bone marrow rescue. Of the 40 study patients, 26 received two full courses of therapy. ■ Measurements: Patient charts were reviewed to determine the rate and duration of complete and partial remission and the number of long-term, disease-free survivors. The influence of cisplatin-refractory disease and the site of the primary tumor on the incidence of remission and survival were also investigated. ■ Results: Of the 40 study patients, 26 (65%) responded to treatment; 12 (30%) achieved a complete response, and 14 (35%) achieved a partial response. Of the 12 complete responders, 5 relapsed, and 1 died of treatment-related acute leukemia 27.5 months after treatment without evidence of germ cell cancer. Six (15%) of the original 40 patients, of whom 3 were refractory to cisplatin, remained in complete remission after at least 24 months of follow-up. Eight of 40 patients had primary mediastinal germ cell tumors with no complete remissions and a median survival of 2 months (range, 0.5 to 9.0 months). ■ Conclusions: Treatment with high-dose carboplatin and etoposide in conjunction with autologous bone marrow rescue in patients with relapsed or refractory germ cell tumors is a potentially curative therapeutic option, even for heavily pretreated or cisplatin-refractory patients. Some degree of disease resistance to cisplatin can be overcome with dose escalation of platinum compounds. Patients with multiple recurrences of relapsed or refractory primary mediastinal germ cell tumors were not helped by this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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