Between 1984 and 1989, 159 patients presenting with advanced germ cell cancer were entered on a randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy and toxicity of etoposide and bleomycin and either standard-dose cisplatin (20 mg/m2 daily for 5 days) or high-dose cisplatin (40 mg/m2 daily for 5 days). Of the 159 patients, 153 were assessable for toxicity and response. As expected, patients receiving the high-dose cisplatin regimen experienced significantly more neurotoxicity, ototoxicity, nausea and vomiting, and myelosuppression. Four patients (3%) died related to therapy. Despite the toxicity encountered, dose intensity was maintained. Overall, 84% of patients in the high-dose arm received 80% or more of the projected dose of cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin; and 90% of patients on the standard-dose arm received 80% or more of the projected dose. Of the 76 eligible patients randomized to receive the high-dose cisplatin regimen, 52 (68%) became disease-free with chemotherapy alone or with subsequent resection of residual teratoma or cancer. Of the 77 patients randomized to the standard-dose arm, 56 (73%) became disease-free with chemotherapy alone or with surgery. Median follow-up is now 24 months. Eleven patients (three high-dose and eight standard-dose) relapsed from disease-free status. Overall, 74% of patients receiving the high-dose cisplatin regimen are alive, and 63% are continuously free of disease. Of the patients receiving the standard-dose cisplatin regimen, 74% are alive, and 61% are continuously free of disease. This randomized prospective trial in advanced germ cell cancer achieved dose intensity of the most active single agent in this disease. This dose intensity did not translate into an improved survival or cure. We conclude that dose escalation of cisplatin beyond standard doses results in excess toxicity with no accompanying therapeutic benefit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research