Salvage therapy in patients with germ cell tumors

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Abstract

Testicular cancer is the most curable metastatic solid tumor. Initial chemotherapy is evidence based with risk stratification into three prognostic categories: good, intermediate, and advanced disease. Guidelines for disease management following progression after initial cisplatin combination chemotherapy are less clear. Options include salvage surgery for patients with anatomically confined relapse, standard-dose cisplatin combination chemotherapy, or high-dose chemotherapy with carboplatin plus etoposide with peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Proper interpretation of a presumed relapse can be complicated. Growing masses on imaging studies might reflect a growing teratoma. Persistent elevations of serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or alpha fetoprotein (AFP) are only an indication for salvage therapy if there is a definitive rise in the tumor marker. Elevated and rising serum hCG as the only evidence of recurrence can be because of cross reactivity with luteinizing hormone or usage of marijuana rather than progressive cancer. Elevated liver function tests can cause rising serum AFP.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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