The contemporary role of chemotherapy for advanced testis cancer: A systematic review of the literature

Fabio Calabrò, Peter Albers, Carsten Bokemeyer, Chris Martin, Lawrence H. Einhorn, Alan Horwich, Susanne Krege, Hans Joachim Schmoll, Cora N. Sternberg, Gedske Daugaard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


Context: Germ cell tumours (GCTs) of the testis are the most common cancer in young men; they are also one of the most curable cancers. Standard treatment of metastatic GCTs has evolved on the basis of randomised trials and prognostic factors. Objective: This review summarises the evolving role of chemotherapy in the treatment of previously treated and untreated patients with metastatic GCTs and outlines the current standard treatment. Evidence acquisition: Randomised and nonrandomised trials of first-line, salvage, and palliative therapy were reviewed. Evidence synthesis: Three cycles of standard bleomycin, etoposide, and platinum (BEP) can be considered the gold-standard treatment in good-risk patients, and four cycles of the same combination can result in cure in approximately 80% of intermediate-risk and 50% of poor-risk patients. The routine use of high-dose chemotherapy in patients with intermediate- or poor-prognosis GCT has not improved treatment outcome, but the role of tumour marker decline during the first cycles may provide useful prognostic information. Prognostic variables in patients who experience treatment failure after cisplatin-based chemotherapy can be used to guide salvage strategies, and many new drugs or combinations have shown activity in this setting. Patients and physicians should be aware of the risk of short- and long-term toxicity of treatments, and guidelines for screening and prevention of this risk should be established. Conclusions: A risk-based strategy offers the best chance of cure, even in patients with refractory GCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-1221
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012



  • Chemotherapy
  • Conventional-dose chemotherapy
  • High-dose chemotherapy
  • Long-term toxicity
  • Metastatic germ cell tumours
  • Prognostic factors
  • Tumour markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

Cite this

Calabrò, F., Albers, P., Bokemeyer, C., Martin, C., Einhorn, L. H., Horwich, A., Krege, S., Schmoll, H. J., Sternberg, C. N., & Daugaard, G. (2012). The contemporary role of chemotherapy for advanced testis cancer: A systematic review of the literature. European urology, 61(6), 1212-1221.