Results of treatment after relapse from high-dose chemotherapy in germ cell tumors

Pierluigi Porcu, Sumeet Bhatia, Matt Sharma, Lawrence H. Einhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify therapy-related or patient-related characteristics that predict response and long-term survival after failure of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) for germ cell tumors (GCT). Patients and Methods: Between 1986 and 1997, 101 GCT patients relapsed after high-dose carboplatin and etoposide (VP-16) at Indiana University (Indianapolis, IN). Median time to relapse was 10 months (range, 1 to 17 months). HDCT was the first salvage treatment in 29 patients and second or later salvage treatment in 72 patients. Results: Fifty-four of 101 patients received post-HDCT treatment. Of these, 47 received chemotherapy, alone (n = 35) or in combination with surgery (n = 12). Seven patients underwent surgery alone. There were only 12 objective responses (three complete and nine partial responses) for 66 chemotherapy regimens given to 47 patients, for an overall response rate of 18.2%. Fifteen patients received platinum-based chemotherapy, with only one objective response. Chemotherapy was discontinued in 17% of cases because of toxicity. A longer interval between HDCT and post-HDCT treatment was the only variable that was associated with response. Five patients (4.9%) are disease- free at 30, 53, 57, 85, and 93 months after relapse. Of these, three responded to oral VP-16 and underwent resection of residual mediastinal, retroperitoneal, and inguinal cancer, respectively. One had resection of residual mediastinal yolk sac tumor, followed by oral VP-16. One relapsed with teratoma and received thoracoabdominal resection without chemotherapy. Conclusion: Patients who experience disease progression after HDCT often receive further chemotherapy and/or surgery. Chemotherapy resulted in a response rate of less than 20%, with only three complete responses. All of the long-term survivors (4.9%) had surgery as a component of their post-HDCT regimen. (C) 2000 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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