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1.  Randomized Phase III Study Comparing Paclitaxel–Bleomycin, Etoposide, and Cisplatin (BEP) to Standard BEP in Intermediate-Prognosis Germ-Cell Cancer: Intergroup Study EORTC 30983 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(8):792-799.
Purpose
To compare the efficacy of four cycles of paclitaxel–bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (T-BEP) to four cycles of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) in previously untreated patients with intermediate-prognosis germ-cell cancer (GCC).
Patients and Methods
Patients were randomly assigned to receive either T-BEP or standard BEP. Patients assigned to the T-BEP group received paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 in a 3-hour infusion. Patients who were administered T-BEP received primary granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) prophylaxis. The study was designed as a randomized open-label phase II/III study. To show a 10% improvement in 3-year progression-free survival (PFS), the study aimed to recruit 498 patients but closed with 337 patients as a result of slow accrual.
Results
Accrual was from November 1998 to April 2009. A total of 169patients were administered BEP, and 168 patients were administered T-BEP. Thirteen patients in both arms were ineligible, mainly as a result of a good prognosis of GCC (eight patients administered BEP; six patients administered T-BEP) or a poor prognosis of GCC (one patient administered BEP; four patients administered T-BEP). PFS at 3 years (intent to treat) was 79.4% in the T-BEP group versus 71.1% in the BEP group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.73; CI, 0.47 to 1.13; P [log-rank test] = 0.153). PFS at 3 years in all eligible patients was 82.7% versus 70.1%, respectively (HR, 0.60; CI: 0.37 to 0.97) and was statistically significant (P = 0.03). Overall survival was not statistically different.
Conclusion
T-BEP administered with G-CSF seems to be a safe and effective treatment regimen for patients with intermediate-prognosis GCC. However, the study recruited a smaller-than-planned number of patients and included 7.7% ineligible patients. The primary analysis of the trial could not demonstrate statistical superiority of T-BEP for PFS. When ineligible patients were excluded, the analysis of all eligible patients demonstrated a 12% superior 3-year PFS with T-BEP, which was statistically significant.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.37.0171
PMCID: PMC3295568  PMID: 22271474
2.  Accelerated BEP: a phase I trial of dose-dense BEP for intermediate and poor prognosis metastatic germ cell tumour 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(6):766-772.
Background:
We used bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin (BEP), the most effective regimen in the treatment of germ cell tumours (GCTs) and increased dose-density by using pegfilgrastim to shorten cycle length. Our aim was to assess safety and tolerability.
Methods:
Sixteen male patients with intermediate or poor prognosis metastatic GCT were treated with four cycles of 3-day BEP with G-CSF on a 14-day cycle for a planned relative dose-density of 1.5 compared with standard BEP.
Results:
Eleven intermediate and five poor prognosis patients were treated. In all, 14 of 16 patients completed the study treatment. Toxicities were comparable to previous studies using standard BEP, except for mucositis and haematological toxicity that were more severe. The overall relative dose-density for all 16 patients was mean 1.38 (range 0.72–1.5; median 1.46). Complete response was achieved after chemotherapy alone in two patients (13%) and following chemotherapy plus surgery in nine additional patients (56%). Four patients (25%) had a partial response and normalised their marker levels. At a median follow-up of 4.4 years (range 2.1–6.8) the estimated 5-year progression-free survival probability is 81% (95% CI 64–100%).
Conclusion:
Accelerated BEP is tolerable without major additional toxicity. A randomised controlled trial will be required to obtain comparative efficacy data.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.309
PMCID: PMC3171015  PMID: 21847130
accelerated; chemotherapy; growth factors; germ cell tumours; dose-density; bleomycin
3.  Four cycles of BEP vs four cycles of VIP in patients with intermediate-prognosis metastatic testicular non-seminoma: a randomized study of the EORTC Genitourinary Tract Cancer Cooperative Group. European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;78(6):828-832.
We investigated the efficacy and toxicity of induction chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide with either bleomycin or ifosfamide in patients with intermediate-prognosis testicular non-seminoma. A total of 84 eligible patients were randomized to receive four cycles of etoposide, ifosfamide, cisplatin (VIP), or four cycles of bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin (BEP). Intermediate prognosis was defined as any of the following: lymph node metastases 5-10 cm in diameter, lung metastases more than four in number or > 3 cm, HCG 5000-50,000 IU l(-1), AFP > 1000 IU l(-1). The complete response (CR) rates to VIP and BEP were similar, 74% and 79% respectively (P = 0.62). Including the cases in whom viable cancer was completely resected with post-chemotherapy debulking surgery, the percentages of patients who achieved a no-evidence-of-disease status were 80% on VIP and 82% on BEP (P = 0.99). In addition, there were no differences in relapse rate, disease-free and overall survival after a median follow-up of 7.7 years. The 5-year progression-free survival was 85% (95% CI 74-96%) in the VIP arm and 83% (95% CI 71-96%) in the BEP arm, hazard ratio (VIP/BEP) 0.83 (95% CI 0.30-2.28). The VIP regimen was more toxic with regard to bone marrow function; the frequency of leucocytes below 2000 microl(-1) throughout four cycles was 89% on VIP and 37% on BEP (P < 0.001). Our study does not indicate that ifosfamide is superior to bleomycin in combination with cisplatin and etoposide. The sample size in this study is small as the study was prematurely discontinued when data became available from a competing study that showed no improved effectiveness of VIP compared with BEP. Taken together with these data, bleomycin should not be replaced by conventional-dose ifosfamide.
PMCID: PMC2062963  PMID: 9743309
4.  Four cycles of BEP versus an alternating regime of PVB and BEP in patients with poor-prognosis metastatic testicular non-seminoma; a randomised study of the EORTC Genitourinary Tract Cancer Cooperative Group. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;71(6):1311-1314.
We have investigated whether an alternating induction chemotherapy regimen of PVB/BEP is superior to BEP in patients with poor-prognosis testicular non-seminoma. A total of 234 eligible patients were randomised to receive an alternating schedule of PVB/BEP for a total of four cycles or four cycles of BEP. Poor prognosis was defined as any of the following: lymph node metastases larger than 5 cm, lung metastases more than four in number or larger than 2 cm, haematogenic spread outside the lungs, such as in liver and bone, human chorionic gonadotrophin > 10,000 IU l-1 or alphafetoprotein > 1000 IU l-1. The complete response (CR) rates to PVB/BEP and BEP were similar, 76% and 72% respectively (P = 0.58). In addition, there was no significant difference in relapse rate, disease-free and overall survival at an average follow-up of 6 years. The 5-year progression-free and survival rates in both treatment groups were approximately 80%. The PVB/BEP regime was more toxic with regard to bone marrow function; the frequencies of leucocytes below 1000 microliters-1, leucocytopenic fever and platelets below 25,000 microliters-1, throughout four cycles were 28% vs 5% (P < 0.001), 16% vs 5% (P = 0.006), and 10% vs 1% (P = 0.001) respectively. Neuropathy also occurred more often in the PVB/BEP arm: 47% vs 25% (P = 0.001). This study shows that an alternating regimen of PVB/BEP is not superior to BEP and that it is more myelo- and neurotoxic.
PMCID: PMC2033818  PMID: 7540039
5.  Alternating dose-dense chemotherapy in patients with high volume disseminated non-seminomatous germ cell tumours 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;86(10):1555-1560.
Only about half of patients with a poor-prognosis non-seminomatous germ-cell tumours can achieve a cure. The aim of this phase II study was to assess the efficacy and toxicity of a dose-dense alternating chemotherapy regimen in this subset of patients. High volume non-seminomatous germ-cell tumours was defined as follows: at least two sites of non pulmonary metastases, an extragonadal primary tumour, a serum human chorionic gonadotropin level higher than 10 000 mIU ml−1, or a alpha-foetoprotein level higher than 2000 mIU ml−1. Patients who fulfilled these criteria were treated with the so-called BOP-CISCA-POMB-ACE regimen (bleomycin, vincristine, and cisplatin; cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin; cisplatin, vincristine, methotrexate, and bleomycin; etoposide, dactinomycin, and cyclophosphamide) plus granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. A total of 58 patients were enrolled. Patients were retrospectively classified according to the International Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus Group classification; 38 patients (66%) had poor-prognosis disease and 19 patients (33%) had intermediate-prognosis. Patients received a median of 2.5 courses (range 0.25 to five courses) of the BOP-CISCA-POMB-ACE regimen. Forty-two patients (72.4%) had a complete response to therapy. With a median follow-up time of 31 months, the 3-year progression-free survival rate was 71% (95% confidence interval, 60 to 84%) and the 3-year overall survival rate was 73% (95% confidence interval: 62 to 86%). The 3-year PFS rates were 83% (95% confidence interval: 68 to 100%) in the intermediate-prognosis group and 65% (95% confidence interval: 51 to 82%) in the poor-prognosis group. Early side effects included mainly grade 4 haematologic toxicity (neutropaenia in 79% of patients, thrombocytopaenia in 69%, anaemia in 22%), grade 4 stomatitis (19%), and four early deaths (7% of patients), at least partially related to toxicity. The dose-dense BOP-CISCA-POMB-ACE regimen is highly active in patients with non-seminomatous germ-cell tumours classified as intermediate-prognosis or poor-prognosis according to the International Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus Group. Because outcomes with this regimen compare favourably with outcome after standard therapy, dose-dense chemotherapy should be further investigated in this subset of patients.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 1555–1560. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600272 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600272
PMCID: PMC2746595  PMID: 12085204
chemotherapy; dose-dense chemotherapy; germ-cell tumours; International Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus Group; non-seminomatous germ cell-tumours
6.  Adjuvant bleomycin, vincristine and cisplatin (BOP) for high-risk stage I non-seminomatous germ cell tumours: a prospective trial (MRC TE17) 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;92(12):2107-2113.
Adjuvant BEP (bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin) is effective treatment for high-risk clinical stage I (HRCS1) non-seminomatous germ cell tumours (NSGCT), but the known toxicities of etoposide, and the expansion of the HR group to any patient with vascular invasion (50% of patients), led the Medical Research Council to pilot the BOP regimen. Patients received two courses of BOP 14 days apart: cisplatin 50 mg m−2 days 1 and 2, vincristine 1.4 mg m−2 (max. 2 mg) days 2 and 8, bleomycin 30 000 IU days 2 and 8. Primary outcome was relapse rate; quality of life, fertility, hearing and lung function were assessed pre- and post-treatment. In all, 100 patients were required. A total of 115 eligible patients were registered, all received two courses of chemotherapy. Median follow-up is 70 months; two relapses have occurred and the 5-year relapse-free rate is 98.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 95.5%, 99.9%). As assessed by clinicians during treatment, complete (reversible) alopecia was present in 20% of patients; World Health Organization (WHO) grade 1/2 neurotoxicity was present in 41%/5% of patients during treatment and 22%/1% at 6 months. However, 12% of patients reported ‘quite a bit' or ‘very much' pain/numbness/tingling in hands/feet 2 years after chemotherapy. Mature follow-up confirms high efficacy for two courses of cisplatin-based adjuvant chemotherapy in HRCS1 NSGCT. Substituting vincristine for etoposide decreases alopecia, but gives a low incidence of significant neuropathy. There are no clearcut advantages to 2 × BOP over 2 × BEP, except for patients who wish to maximise the chance of avoiding significant alopecia.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602624
PMCID: PMC2361823  PMID: 15928672
adjuvant chemotherapy; stage I non-seminoma
7.  A randomized phase III study comparing standard dose BEP with sequential high-dose cisplatin, etoposide, and ifosfamide (VIP) plus stem-cell support in males with poor-prognosis germ-cell cancer. An intergroup study of EORTC, GTCSG, and Grupo Germinal (EORTC 30974) 
Annals of Oncology  2010;22(5):1054-1061.
Background: To compare the efficacy of one cycle of standard dose cisplatin, etoposide, and ifosfamide (VIP) plus three cycles of high-dose VIP followed by stem-cell infusion [high-dose chemotherapy (HD-CT arm)] to four cycles of standard cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin (BEP) in patients with poor-prognosis germ-cell cancer (GCC).
Patient and methods: Patients with poor-prognosis GCC were assigned to receive either BEP or VIP followed by HD-CT. To show a 15% improvement in a 1-year failure-free survival (FFS), the study aimed to recruit 222 patients but closed with 137, due to slow accrual.
Results: One hundred thirty-one patients were included in this analysis. The complete response rates in the HD-CT and in the BEP arm did not differ: (intention to treat) 44.6% versus 33.3% (P = 0.18). There was no difference in FFS between the two treatment arms (P = 0.057, 66 events). At 2 years, the FFS rate was 44.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 32.5–56.4] and 58.2%, respectively (95% CI 48.0–71.9); but this 16.3% (standard deviation 7.5%) difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.060). Overall survival did not differ between the two groups (log-rank P > 0.1, 47 deaths).
Conclusion: This study could not demonstrate that high-dose chemotherapy given as part of first-line therapy improves outcome in patients with poor-prognosis GCC.
doi:10.1093/annonc/mdq575
PMCID: PMC3082158  PMID: 21059637
germ-cell tumor; high-dose chemotherapy; phase III
8.  A phase II trial of TIP (paclitaxel, ifosfamide and cisplatin) given as second-line (post-BEP) salvage chemotherapy for patients with metastatic germ cell cancer: a medical research council trial 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;93(2):178-184.
This phase II trial describes the use of TIP chemotherapy (paclitaxel, ifosfamide and cisplatin) as salvage for patients with metastatic germ cell cancer (GCC) who have failed initial BEP (bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin) chemotherapy. Patients with first relapse following BEP for metastatic GCC, confirmed by biopsy or sequentially rising markers, received four courses of TIP (paclitaxel 175 mg m−2 day 1, followed on days 1–5 by ifosfamide 1 g m−2 intravenously (i.v.) and cisplatin 20 mg2 i.v.) at 3-weekly intervals. The primary outcome measure was response to TIP. In all, 51 patients were registered, of whom 43 were eligible for response assessment. Eight achieved complete remission (CR) and 18 a partial remission with negative markers (PR−ve); favourable response rate (FRR=CR+PR−ve) 60%, 95% CI (44–75%); survival at 1 year was 70% (56–84%) and failure-free survival 36% (22–50%). In the group of 26 patients meeting the ‘good-risk' criteria described by the Memorial Hospital, the FRR was 73% (52–88%) compared with 41% (18–67%) for the 17 ‘poor-risk' patients. These results are inferior to those previously reported for TIP in a single-centre study when it was given more intensively, at higher dose and with growth factor support. Nonetheless, TIP as described here can cure a substantial proportion of patients.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6602682
PMCID: PMC2361542  PMID: 15999102
cisplatin; ifosfamide; metastatic germ cell cancer; paclitaxel; salvage chemotherapy
9.  Progressive Resistance Training and Cancer Testis (PROTRACT) - Efficacy of resistance training on muscle function, morphology and inflammatory profile in testicular cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: design of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:326.
Background
Standard treatment for patients with disseminated germ cell tumors is combination chemotherapy with bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin (BEP). This treatment is highly effective, but the majority of patients experience severe adverse effects during treatment and are at risk of developing considerable long-term morbidity, including second malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary toxicity. One neglected side effect is the significant muscular fatigue mentioned by many patients with testicular cancer both during and after treatment. Very limited information exists concerning the patho-physiological effects of antineoplastic agents on skeletal muscle. The primary aim of this study is to investigate the effects of BEP-treatment on the skeletal musculature in testicular cancer patients, and to examine whether the expected treatment-induced muscular deterioration can be attenuated or even reversed by high intensity progressive resistance training (HIPRT).
Design/Methods
The PROTRACT study is a randomized controlled trial in 30 testicular cancer patients undergoing three cycles of BEP chemotherapy. Participants will be randomized to either a 9-week HIPRT program (STR) initiated at the onset of treatment, or to standard care (UNT). 15 healthy matched control subjects (CON) will complete the same HIPRT program. All participants will take part in 3 assessment rounds (baseline, 9 wks, 21 wks) including muscle biopsies, maximum muscle strength tests, whole body DXA scan and blood samples. Primary outcome: mean fiber area and fiber type composition measured by histochemical analyses, satellite cells and levels of protein and mRNA expression of intracellular mediators of protein turnover. Secondary outcomes: maximum muscle strength and muscle power measured by maximum voluntary contraction and leg-extensor-power tests, body composition assessed by DXA scan, and systemic inflammation analyzed by circulating inflammatory markers, lipid and glucose metabolism in blood samples. Health related Quality of Life (QoL) will be assessed by validated questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30, SF-36).
Discussion
This study investigates the muscular effects of antineoplastic agents in testicular cancer patients, and furthermore evaluates whether HIPRT has a positive influence on side effects related to chemotherapy. A more extensive knowledge of the interaction between cytotoxic-induced physiological impairment and exercise-induced improvement is imperative for the future development of optimal rehabilitation programs for cancer patients.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN32132990.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-326
PMCID: PMC3176239  PMID: 21806789
Testicular cancer; anti neoplasms; resistance exercise; muscle morphology
10.  Optimal management of testicular cancer: from self-examination to treatment of advanced disease 
Germ-cell cancer is the most common solid tumor in men aged 15 to 35 years and has become the model for curable neoplasm. Over the last 3 decades, the cure rate has increased from 15% to 85%. This improved cure rate has been largely attributed to the introduction of cisplatin-based chemotherapy. In stage I seminoma and nonseminoma, cure rates approach 100% and treatment is governed by patient choice based on the perceived morbidities of each therapy and personal preferences. For seminoma, treatments include surveillance, radiotherapy, and single course carboplatin. For nonseminoma, treatments include surveillance, retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND), and adjuvant chemotherapy. Low volume (<3 cm) stage II seminoma is typically managed with radiotherapy while higher volume (>3 cm) stage II and stage III disease treated with chemotherapy. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging can differentiate active cancer versus necrosis for postchemotherapy residual masses. PET-positive masses are managed with either surgery or second-line chemotherapy. Low volume (<5 cm) stage II nonseminoma with normal serum tumor markers may be managed with either RPLND or chemotherapy. Patients with persistently elevated serum tumor markers and larger volume stage II and stage III disease are managed with systemic chemotherapy. As with seminoma, good risk patients are typically treated with 3 courses of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) and intermediate and poor risk patients are treated with 4 courses. Residual postchemotherapy masses should be resected due to the uncertainty of the histology with 50% to 60% harboring residual teratoma or active cancer. The majority of patients completing initial therapy who relapse do so within 2 years. A minority of patients (2%–3%) recur after 2 years and this phenomenon is termed late relapse. Excluding chemonaïve patients, late relapse disease is typically managed surgically with 50% being cured of disease. Current therapeutic challenges in testis cancer include the accurate prediction of postchemotherapy histology to avoid surgery in patients harboring fibrosis only, improved therapy in platinum-resistant and platinum-refractory disease, and the understanding of the biology of late relapse.
PMCID: PMC3818885  PMID: 24198622
testicular cancer; self-examination; advanced disease
11.  Bleomycin cardiotoxicity during chemotherapy for an ovarian germ cell tumor 
Hippokratia  2013;17(2):187-188.
Introduction: Platinum-based chemotherapeutic regimens, including BEP (bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin) represent the standard of care, first line therapy in non-epithelial ovarian tumours. Cardiovascular toxicity is a rare adverse effect of bleomycin.
Case Report: A 41-year-old woman with ovarian granulosa tumor, treated with first line BEP chemotherapy experienced chest discomfort rapidly progressing to severe precordial pain during bleomycin infusion. The infusion was stopped and electrocardiographic changes indicative of myocardial ischemia were revealed. Anti-anginal and anti-thrombotic treatment was introduced. Cardiac enzymes were not elevated and echocardiographic findings showed no wall motion abnormalities. Twenty four hours after the episode the elctrocardiographic changes insisted and chemotherapy was decided to be continued, excluding bleomycin, with no symptom recurrence.
Discussion: Cardiovascular complications pose a rare but potential fatal adverse effect of BEP chemotherapy and should be carefully addressed, especially in patients with additional cardiovascular risk factors. Physicians dealing with bleomycin-based therapies may find this knowledge useful for a more comprehensive evaluation of chest pain syndromes in those patients.
PMCID: PMC3743631  PMID: 24376332
BEP chemotherapy; ovarian cancer; cardiotoxicity; myocardial ischemia; chest pain
12.  Pilot Study of Cisplatin, Etoposide, Bleomycin, and Escalating Dose Cyclophosphamide Therapy for Children With High Risk Germ Cell Tumors: A Report of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2013;60(10):1602-1605.
Background
To establish the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and toxicity profile of cyclophosphamide with cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin (C-PEB) in children with high-risk malignant germ cell tumors (HR-MGCT).
Procedure
Eligibility criteria included untreated patients ≤ 21 years of age with stage III/IV extragonadal, extra cranial MGCT. Patients received four cycles (repeated every 3 weeks) of cisplatin (20 mg/m2/day × 5 days), etoposide (100 mg/m2/day × 5 days), and bleomycin (15 mg/m2 on Day 1) with escalating doses of cyclophosphamide on Day 1, assigned at the time of enrollment (1.2, 1.8, or 2.4 g/m2). Patients with complete response had therapy discontinued. Patients with residual disease underwent second-look surgery, those with pathologic evidence of residual MGCT or whose markers had not normalized received two more cycles. All other patients had protocol therapy stopped.
Results
Nineteen patients were enrolled between July 2004 and August 2007. Three patients were non-evaluable. Sixteen patients completed four cycles. Eleven had complete response, one had progressive disease and four had partial response. All four with partial response underwent second look surgery followed by two more cycles. Only one patient, on dose 1.8 g/m2, experienced dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) during the first cycle of therapy (grade 3 hyperglycemia). The 4-year EFS and OS (± standard deviation) were 74 ± 7% and 89 ± 10%, respectively.
Conclusion
The addition of cyclophosphamide to the standard PEB regimen (cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin) is feasible and well-tolerated at all dose levels used on this study.
doi:10.1002/pbc.24601
PMCID: PMC4303038  PMID: 23703725
cyclophosphamide; germ cell tumors; maximum tolerated doses
13.  Impact of the Chemotherapy Cocktail Used to Treat Testicular Cancer on the Gene Expression Profile of Germ Cells from Male Brown-Norway Rats1 
Biology of Reproduction  2009;80(2):320-327.
Advances in treatment for testicular cancer that include the coadministration of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) have brought the cure rate to higher than 90%%. The goal of this study was to elucidate the impact of BEP treatment on gene expression in male germ cells. Brown-Norway rats were treated for 9 wk with vehicle (0×) or BEP at doses equivalent to 0.3× and 0.6× the human dose. At the end of treatment, spermatogenesis was affected, showing altered histology and a decreased sperm count; spermatozoa had a higher number of DNA breaks. After 9 wk of treatment, round spermatids were isolated, and RNA was extracted and probed on Rat230–2.0 Affymetrix arrays. Of the 31 099 probe sets present on the array, 59%% were expressed in control round spermatids. BEP treatment significantly altered the expression of 221 probe sets, with at least a 1.5-fold change compared with controls; 80%% were upregulated. We observed a dose-dependent increase in the expression of oxidative stress response genes and no change in the expression of genes involved in DNA repair. BEP upregulated genes were implicated in pathways related to Jun and Junb protooncogenes. Increased mRNA levels of Jun and Junb were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR; furthermore, JUN protein was increased in elongating spermatids. Thus, BEP exposure triggers an oxidative stress response in round spermatids and induces many pathways that may lead to the survival of damaged cells and production of abnormal sperm.
Genes involved in the response of male germ cells to chemotherapeutics have been identified, providing insight into the cellular pathways driving germ cell differentiation and identifying potential biomarkers of abnormal male germ cells.
doi:10.1095/biolreprod.108.072108
PMCID: PMC2848733  PMID: 18987330
chemotherapy; gene expression; gene regulation; Jun protooncogene; round spermatids; spermatogenesis; testicular cancer; toxicology
14.  Testicular cancer: seminoma 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1807.
Introduction
More than half of painless solid swellings of the body of the testis are malignant, with a peak incidence in men aged 25 to 35 years. Most testicular cancers are germ cell tumours and half of these are seminomas, which tend to affect older men and have a good prognosis.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments in men with stage 1 seminoma (confined to testis) who have undergone orchidectomy? What are the effects of treatments in men with good-prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma who have undergone orchidectomy? What are the effects of maintenance chemotherapy in men who are in remission after orchidectomy and chemotherapy for good-prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma? What are the effects of treatments in men with intermediate-prognosis seminoma who have undergone orchidectomy? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 29 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: chemotherapy (maintenance, adjuvant, single-agent carboplatin, 3 or 4 cycles, different number of cycles of adjuvant, using bleomycin added to vinblastine plus cisplatin, using etoposide plus cisplatin with or without bleomycin, adding higher doses to a 2-drug chemotherapy regimen using cisplatin or vinblastine); radiotherapy (different adjuvant regimens [20 Gy in 10 fractions to para-aortic area, 30 Gy in 15 fractions to para-aortic area and iliac nodes], different drug combinations, 30–36 Gy in 15–18 fractions); and surveillance.
Key Points
More than half of painless solid swellings of the body of the testis are malignant, with a peak incidence in men aged 25 to 35 years. Most testicular cancers are germ cell tumours and about half of these are seminomas, which tend to affect older men and have a good prognosis.
In men with seminoma confined to the testis (stage 1), standard treatment is orchidectomy followed by radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or surveillance. All 3 management options are associated with cure rates approaching 100% because of successful salvage therapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy reduces the risk of relapse after orchidectomy compared with surveillance, but is associated with short-term adverse effects (nausea, diarrhoea, and indigestion) and possible long-term risks of reduced fertility and development of second malignancies.We don't know which is the most effective chemotherapy regimen, or the optimum number of cycles to use. The high cure rate with standard therapy makes it difficult to show which alternative therapy is superior.Toxicity is lower, but efficacy the same, with adjuvant irradiation of 20 Gy in 10 fractions compared with 30 Gy in 15 fractions, or with irradiation to para-aortic nodes compared with ipsilateral iliac nodes.
In men with good-prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma who have had orchidectomy, radiotherapy may improve survival and be less toxic than chemotherapy, except in men with large-volume disease, in whom chemotherapy may be more effective. Combined chemotherapy may be more effective than single agents, but 3 cycles seem to be as effective as 4 and with less toxicity.A standard radiotherapy treatment comprises 30 to 36 Gy in 15 to 18 fractions (2 Gy per fraction), although we don't know whether this is more effective than other regimens.
In men who are in remission after orchidectomy plus chemotherapy for good-prognosis, non-stage 1 seminoma, further chemotherapy is unlikely to reduce relapse rates or increase survival. Chemotherapy increases survival in men with intermediate-prognosis seminomas who have had orchidectomy; although evidence for this is derived mostly from treatment of intermediate-prognosis non-seminoma, it is likely to be generalisable to intermediate-prognosis seminoma.
PMCID: PMC3217763  PMID: 21477387
15.  Decrease in pulmonary function during bleomycin-containing combination chemotherapy for testicular cancer: not only a bleomycin effect. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;71(1):120-123.
This study was performed to determine the changes in pulmonary function in patients randomised to receive treatment with four cycles of bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin (BEP) (27 patients) or with four cycles of etoposide and cisplatin (EP) (27 patients) for disseminated non-seminomatous testicular cancer. This enabled us to establish whether effects other than those due to bleomycin determined the detrimental effects of BEP on lung function assessments. Slow inspiratory vital capacity (VC), the transfer factor of the lungs for carbon monoxide (TLCO), the diffusing capacity of the alveolo-capillary membrane (Dm), the pulmonary capillary blood volume (Vc) and the transfer factor of the lungs for carbon monoxide per unit alveolar volume (KCO) were determined before and at 3 week intervals during chemotherapy. Both groups, similar in terms of factors that may influence pulmonary function, showed during therapy a significant decrease in TLCO compared with the pretreatment value. Only at the end of the therapy was a significant difference in TLCO between both groups observed. Dm diminished also significantly in both groups during treatment, but differences between both groups were not seen. VC and Vc decreased in patients receiving BEP but remained constant during treatment with EP. It can be concluded that the Dm, KCO, and the widely used TLCO are not suitable parameters to monitor specifically pulmonary toxicity induced by bleomycin as part of a multidrug regimen. However, VC and Vc appear to be proper lung function assessments which reflect specifically alterations induced by bleomycin.
PMCID: PMC2033457  PMID: 7529523
16.  Management of good-risk metastatic nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testis: Current concepts and controversies 
Introduction/Methods:
Approximately 30% of nonseminomatous germ-cell tumors (NSGCT) of the testis present with metastatic disease. In 1997, the International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group (IGCCCG) stratified all patients with metastatic NSGCT into various risk groups based on serum tumor markers and presence of visceral disease. We review the literature and present optimal stage-dependent management strategies in patients with favorable-risk metastatic NSGCT.
Results:
Primary chemotherapy (3 cycles BEP or 4 cycles EP) has been shown to be the preferred modality in patients with Clinical Stage IS (cIS) and in patients with bulky metastatic disease (≥CS IIb) due to their high risk of systemic disease and recurrence. Primary retroperitoneal lymph node dissection appears to be the most efficient primary therapy for retroperitoneal disease <2 cm (CS IIa), with adjuvant chemotherapy reserved for patients who are pathologically advanced (>5 nodes involved, single node > 2 cm) and for those who are non-compliant with surveillance regimens. Following primary chemotherapy, STM and radiographic evaluation are used to assess treatment response. For patients with normalization of STM and retroperitoneal masses < 1 cm, retroperitoneal lymph node dissection or observation with treatment at disease progression are considered options. Due to risk of teratoma or chemoresistant GCT, masses >1 cm and extra-retroperitoneal masses should be treated with surgical resection, which should be performed with nerve-sparing, if possible.
Conclusions:
In patients with favorable disease based on IGCCCG criteria, clinical stage, STM, and radiographic evaluation are used to guide appropriate therapy to provide excellent long-term cure rates (>92%) in patients with metastatic NSGCT.
doi:10.4103/0970-1591.60449
PMCID: PMC2878446  PMID: 20535293
Metastatic germ cell cancer; non-seminoma; RPLND; testicular cancer; testis
17.  Adult medulloblastoma: multiagent chemotherapy. 
Neuro-Oncology  2001;3(1):29-34.
In this study, the records of 17 adult patients with medulloblastoma treated with craniospinal radiation and 1 of 2 multiagent chemotherapy protocols were reviewed for progression-free survival, overall survival, and toxicity, and the patients were compared with each other and with similarly treated children and adults. Records of patients treated at 3 institutions were reviewed. Seventeen medulloblastoma patients (11 female, 6 male) with a median age of 23 years (range, 18-47 years) were treated with surgery, craniospinal radiation (CSRT) plus local boost, and 1 of 2 adjuvant chemotherapy regimens. All tumors were infratentorial (10 in 4th ventricle and 7 in left or right hemisphere). Ten patients presented with hydrocephalus, and 7 of them were shunted. Eight patients had gross total resection, 7 had subtotal resection (>50% removed), and 2 had partial resection (<50% removed). Postoperatively, 3 patients had positive cytology and 3 had positive spinal MRI. Five patients were classified as good risk and 12 were classified as poor risk (Chang staging system). Ten patients were treated with the "Packer protocol," consisting of CSRT plus weekly vincristine followed by 8 cycles of cisplatin, lomustine, and vincristine. Seven patients were treated with the Pediatric Oncology Group (POG) protocol, consisting of alternating courses of cisplatin/etoposide and cyclophosphamide/vincristine, followed by CSRT. Eight of 17 patients relapsed, with all 8 relapsing at the primary site. Other relapse sites included the leptomeninges (5), bone (1), and brain (1). The estimated median relapse-free survival (Kaplan-Meier) for all patients was 48 months (95% confidence interval, >26 months to infinity). Median relapse-free survival for patients on the Packer protocol was 26 months, and for those on the POG regimen was 48 months (P = 0.410). Five of 10 on the Packer protocol were relapse-free, while 4 of 7 were relapse-free on the POG regimen. Two patients relapsed during chemotherapy and 6 relapsed after completing all therapy at 18, 18, 26, 30, 40, and 48 months. The estimated median survival of all patients was 56 months (95% confidence interval, 27 to infinity) with 11 patients alive; for the Packer protocol, median survival was 36 months, and for the POG protocol, it was 57 months (P = 0.058). The hazard ratio was 0 (95% confidence interval, 0 to infinity). Toxicity during the Packer protocol was moderately severe, with only 1 of 10 patients able to complete all therapy. Two patients had severe abdominal pain during CSRT + vincristine, and 5 had peripheral neuropathy during vincristine therapy. Hearing loss (>20 dB) occurred in 7, neutropenia (<500 microl) in 6, thrombocytopenia (<50,000 microl) in 6, nephrotoxicity (>25% decrease by creatinine clearance) in 2, and decreased pulmonary function (diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide decrease >40%) in 1. On the POG protocol, only 1 patient had persistent nausea and vomiting, 2 had peripheral neuropathy, and 3 had hearing deficit (>20 dB) or tinnitus. The POG and Packer protocols did not have a statistically significant difference in relapse-free or overall survival because of the small sample size. The POG protocol seemed to have less nonhematologic toxicity. Adults on the Packer protocol appeared to have shorter median survival and greater toxicity than did children. To know whether adding adjuvant chemotherapy to craniospinal radiation in adult therapy increases relapse-free and overall survival, we must await the results of a larger randomized controlled clinical trial.
PMCID: PMC1920599  PMID: 11305414
18.  Testicular cancer: seminoma 
Clinical Evidence  2007;2007:1807.
Introduction
More than half of painless solid swellings of the body of the testis are malignant, with a peak incidence in men aged 25-35 years. About half of testicular cancers are seminomas, which tend to affect older men and have a good prognosis.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments in men with stage 1 seminoma (confined to testis) who have undergone orchidectomy? What are the effects of treatments in men with good-prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma who have undergone orchidectomy? What are the effects of maintenance chemotherapy in men in remission after orchidectomy and chemotherapy for good-prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma? What are the effects of treatments in men with intermediate-prognosis seminoma who have undergone orchidectomy? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to April 2006 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 27 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adjuvant irradiation (20 Gy in 10 fractions to paraaortic area, 30 Gy in 15 fractions to paraaortic area and iliac nodes), chemotherapy (maintenance, adjuvant, single-agent carboplatin, three or four cycles, different number of cycles of adjuvant, using bleomycin added to vinblastine plus cisplatin, using etoposide plus cisplatin with or without bleomycin, adding higher doses to a two-drug chemotherapy regimen using cisplatin or vinblastine), radiotherapy (adjuvant, different drug combinations, 30-36 Gy in 15-18 fractions), surveillance.
Key Points
More than half of painless solid swellings of the body of the testis are malignant, with a peak incidence in men aged 25-35 years. About half of testicular cancers are seminomas, which tend to affect older men and have a good prognosis.
In men with seminoma confined to the testis (stage 1), standard treatment is orchidectomy followed by radiotherapy to infradiaphragmatic lymph nodes, which is associated with cure rates approaching 100%. Adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy reduce the risk of relapse after orchidectomy compared with surveillance, but both reduce fertility and may increase the risk of secondary malignancy in the long term.We do not know which is the most effective chemotherapy regimen, or the optimum number of cycles to use. The high cure rate with standard therapy makes it difficult to show that any alternative therapy is superior.Toxicity is lower, but efficacy the same, with adjuvant irradiation of 20 Gy in 10 fractions compared with 30 Gy in 15 fractions, or with irradiation to para-aortic nodes compared with ipsilateral iliac nodes.
In men with good prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma who have had orchidectomy, radiotherapy may improve survival and be less toxic than chemotherapy, except in men with large volume disease, in whom chemotherapy may be more effective. Combined chemotherapy may be more effective than single agents, but three cycles seem to be as effective as four and with less toxicity.Standard radiotherapy treatment comprises 30-36 Gy in 15-18 fractions, although we do not know whether this is more effective than other regimens.
In men who are in remission after orchidectomy plus chemotherapy for good prognosis non-stage 1 seminoma, further chemotherapy is unlikely to reduce relapse rates or increase survival. We do not know whether chemotherapy increases survival in men with intermediate prognosis seminomas who have had orchidectomy.
PMCID: PMC2943781  PMID: 19454048
19.  Recent Advances in Granulosa Cell Tumor Ovary: A Review 
Granulosa cell tumors constitute less than 5 % of all ovarian tumors. Unlike epithelial ovarian tumors, they occur in a younger age group, are usually detected in an early stage and often have features of hyperestrogenism. The presenting symptoms are usually nonspecific with abdominal pain or distension. They follow an indolent course and are characterized by a long natural history. Mutation of FOXL2 (402C->G) seen in 97 % of adult GCT may be pathognomonic for adult GCT. Only stage of the disease has been consistently shown in various studies to affect survival of patients with GCT. The initial management of patients, for whom fertility is not an issue, is total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and removal of all gross disease. Nodal dissection is not a significant factor for survival and is not recommended in surgical staging of GCT. Fertility preserving surgery with unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is feasible in young patients with stage Ia GCT. Patients with early stage disease (stage I and II) have a very good prognosis with 5 year DFS and OS of 89 % and 99 % respectively and these groups of patients usually don’t require any postoperative treatment. Patients with stage Ic disease associated with poor prognostic factors like large tumor size or high mitotic index and stage II, have a higher chance of relapse, and may benefit with postoperative treatment but role of chemotherapy is still debatable. In advanced stage disease (stage III and IV) the 5 year DFS and OS disease was 72 % and 80 % respectively hence the option of postoperative treatment with 6 cycles of BEP should be considered in this group. Recently paclitaxel is being investigated as an effective tool in GCT. The efficacy of radiation in GCT is not well defined but in optimally debulked cases postoperative radiation is a viable option. Due to high chance of recurrence even years after apparent clinical cure of the primary tumor, lifelong follow up with clinical examination and tumor markers like inhibin B is recommended. About 25 % GCT develop recurrence and the median time to recur is usually 4–5 years. Most recurrences are intraperitoneal and usually a complete debulking of the disease is feasible even in the recurrent setting. Postoperative chemotherapy (platinum based) is usually given after surgery more so in cases with widespread disease or after suboptimal cytoreduction. Recurrent chemoresistant, progressive non-responding GCT or patients with high surgical risk are ideal candidates for targeted therapy.
doi:10.1007/s13193-012-0201-z
PMCID: PMC3578540  PMID: 24426698
Granulosa cell tumor; Inhibin B
20.  Consolidative high-dose chemotherapy after conventional-dose chemotherapy as first salvage treatment for male patients with metastatic germ cell tumours 
Introduction:
Some men with metastatic germ cell tumours that have progressed after response to initial cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy are cured with conventional dose first salvage chemotherapy (CDCT) – however, many are not. High-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue (HDCT) may be of value in these patients. Prognosis has recently been better defined by International Prognostic Factor Study Group (IPFSG) prognostic factors. HDCT after response to CDCT has been offered at our institution over the past two decades. We retrospectively assessed the validity of the IPFSG prognostic factors in our patients and evaluated the value of HDCT.
Methods:
We identified eligible men with metastatic germ cell tumour progressed after at least 3 cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy and treated with cisplatin-based CDCT alone or with carboplatin-based HDCT. We also collected their clinical data. Patients were classified into risk groups using IPFSG factors, and progression-free and overall survival factors were analyzed and compared in patients treated with CDCT alone and with HDCT.
Results:
We identified 38 eligible first salvage patients who had received a median of 4 cycles (range, 1 to 7 cycles) of CDCT. Twenty patients received CDCT alone and 18 patients received CDCT plus HDCT. The overall median progression- free survival was 24.6 months (95%CI, 7.3 to 28.7 months) and overall median overall survival was 34.6 months (95%CI, 17.2 to 51.3 months). Distribution by IPFSG category and 2-year progression- free survival and 3-year overall survival rates within each risk category were very similar to the IPFSG results. There were two toxic deaths with CDCT and none with HDCT. Overall, patients treated with CDCT plus HDCT had improved progression- free survival and overall survival.
Conclusions:
The IPFSG prognostic risk factors appeared valid in our patient population. The safety of HDCT with etoposide and carboplatin was confirmed. HDCT was associated with improved progression- free survival and overall survival outcomes, consistent with observations of the IPFSG group. Ideally, the value of optimal HDCT should be determined in comparison to optimal CDCT as first salvage therapy in men with metastatic germ cell tumour with a randomized trial.
doi:10.5489/cuaj.11233
PMCID: PMC3328550  PMID: 22511417
21.  Interferon-α Treatment for Growing Teratoma Syndrome of the Testis 
A 23-year-old man with a right scrotal mass and back pain was referred for further treatment after right radical orchiectomy for testicular cancer. CT scans brought by the patient showed extensive metastasis to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes with no lung involvement. α-Fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin were elevated preoperatively (384 ng/ml and 112 mIU/ml, respectively). Confirmation of the histopathologic examination revealed a mixed germ cell tumor (95% immature teratoma and 5% embryonal carcinoma). We started the patient on chemotherapy with bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP). After a single course, tumor markers began to normalize, but there was radiologic evidence of continued growth of the retroperitoneal mass and new metastases in the lung. The patient was given 2 courses of salvage chemotherapy with etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin (VIP). However, the mass and lung metastases continued to progress, and the patient was growing rapidly intolerant of the side effects of treatment (i.e., nausea, appetite loss, and pancytopenia). After thorough discussion with the patient and his family, we decided to start the patient on interferon (IFN)-α therapy. Natural, nonrecombinant IFN-α (OIF, Otsuka, Japan) 5,000,000 IU was administered twice weekly with approval of the ethics committee of our institution. The patient responded moderately with marked deceleration of tumor growth and stabilization of the lung metastases. He is alive and well at 16 months on IFN-α therapy.
doi:10.1159/000350897
PMCID: PMC3636960  PMID: 23626597
Testicular tumor; Immature teratoma; Growing teratoma syndrome; Interferon-α
22.  Difference in the emetic control among highly emetogenic chemotherapy regimens: Implementation for appropriate use of aprepitant 
Although antiemetic medication based on the emetogenicity of the cancer chemotherapy regimen is recommended, emetic control varies even among highly emetogenic chemotherapy (HEC). In the present study, we retrospectively investigated the rates of emetic control by a combination of granisetron, 5-HT3 antagonist and dexamethasone in various HEC regimens, including 5 single-day chemotherapy regimens such as gemcitabine/cisplatin (GEM/CDDP), epirubicin/cyclophosphamide (EPI/CPA), pemetrexed or vinorelbine/cisplatin (PEM or VNR/CDDP), doxorubicin/bleomycin/vinblastine/dacarbazine (ABVd) and rituximab/doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide/vincristine/prendisolone (R-CHOP21), and 2 multiple-day chemotherapy regimens such as 5-fluorouracil/cisplatin (5-FU/CDDP) and bleomycin/etoposide/cisplatin (BEP). Complete response (no emesis, no rescue treatment) during the overall period (days 1–5) was assessed as the primary endpoint. Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting was well-controlled (complete response >70%) in GEM/CDDP and R-CHOP21, but not in other regimens. The effect of a triple antiemetic medication including aprepitant (APR) was subsequently examined in patients receiving EPI/CPA and 5-FU/CDDP. Complete response was significantly improved in patients receiving 5-FU/CDDP but not in those receiving EPI/CPA, although the complete protection from vomiting significantly increased in both cases. Of note, the administration of APR for 5 days, but not for 3 days, was required to completely block the incidence of vomiting during the 7 days of the observation period in patients receiving 5-FU/CDDP. These findings suggest that APR should be used appropriately based on the emetogenicity of HEC regimens.
doi:10.3892/mco.2012.15
PMCID: PMC3956247  PMID: 24649120
highly emetogenic chemotherapy; single-day chemotherapy regimen; multiple-day chemotherapy regimen; chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; complete response; aprepitant
23.  GAMEC – a new intensive protocol for untreated poor prognosis and relapsed or refractory germ cell tumours 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(3):308-314.
There is no consensus as to the management of untreated poor prognosis or relapsed/refractory germ cell tumours. We have studied an intensive cisplatin-based regimen that incorporates high-dose methotrexate (HD MTX) and actinomycin-D and etoposide every 14 days (GAMEC). Sixty-two patients were enrolled in a phase 2 study including 27 who were untreated (IGCCCG, poor prognosis) and 35 with progression despite conventional platinum based chemotherapy. The pharmacokinetics of the drugs were correlated with standard outcome measures. Twenty of the untreated patients were progression free following GAMEC and appropriate surgery, as were 18 individuals in the pretreated group. None of the established prognostic factors for therapy for pretreated patients could identify a poor-prognosis group. Five out of nine late relapses to prior chemotherapy were progression free following GAMEC and appropriate surgery. All patients had at least one episode of febrile neutropenia and there were five (8%) treatment-related deaths. PK values were not predictive of efficacy or toxicity, although the dose intensity in the pretreated group of patients, especially of HD MTX, was significantly correlated with progression-free survival (PFS). GAMEC is a novel intensive regimen for this group of patients producing encouraging responses, although with significant toxicity. For those in whom it fails, further therapy is still possible with durable responses being seen.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603865
PMCID: PMC2360316  PMID: 17609665
GAMEC; methotrexate; high dose; germ cell
24.  Seminomatous Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumor with Complete Obstruction of the Superior Vena Cava Responding to Intensive Chemotherapy 
A 20-year-old man was admitted to our hospital with persistent cough and dyspnea. He had bilateral distention of the jugular veins, and swollen lymph nodes were palpable in the right subclavicular region. Plain X-ray and computed tomography (CT) of the chest showed a solid soft tissue mass in the upper mediastinum, with leftward displacement of the trachea and complete obstruction of the superior vena cava. Mediastinal radiotherapy (1.8 Gy/day) and methylprednisolone (100 mg/day) were started immediately. Biopsy of the right subclavicular lymph nodes revealed metastatic seminoma. The patient was referred for chemotherapy, which was performed with a combination of cisplatin, bleomycin and etoposide (BEP). A partial response was observed after completion of 3 cycles of chemotherapy, but there was no further tumor shrinkage after additional salvage chemotherapy. The patient is being followed up on an outpatient basis and has been free of recurrence for 32 months after intensive treatment.
doi:10.2185/jrm.6.32
PMCID: PMC4309346
Extragonadal germ cell tumor; intensive chemotherapy; superior vena cava obstruction
25.  Irinotecan in patients with relapsed or cisplatin-refractory germ cell cancer: a phase II study of the German Testicular Cancer Study Group 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;87(7):729-732.
Despite generally high cure rates in patients with metastatic germ cell cancer, patients with progressive disease on first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy or with relapsed disease following high-dose salvage therapy exhibit a very poor prognosis. Irinotecan has shown antitumour activity in human testicular tumour xenografts in nude mice. We have performed a phase II study examining the single agent activity of irinotecan in patients with metastatic relapsed or cisplatin-refractory germ cell cancer. Refractory disease was defined as progression or relapse within 4 weeks after cisplatin-based chemotherapy or relapse after salvage high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell support. Irinotecan was administered at a dose of 300 (−350) mg m−2 every 3 weeks. Response was evaluated every 4 weeks. Fifteen patients have been enrolled. Median age was 35 (19–53) years. Primary tumour localisation was gonadal/mediastinal in 12/3 patients. Patients had been pretreated with a median of six (4–12) cisplatin-containing cycles and 13 out of 15 patients had previously failed high-dose chemotherapy with blood stem cell support. Median number of irinotecan applications was two (1–3). Fourteen patients are assessable for response and all for toxicity. In one patient, no adequate response evaluation was performed. Toxicity was generally acceptable and consisted mainly of haematological side effects with common toxicity criteria 3° anaemia (two patients), common toxicity criteria 3° leukocytopenia (one patient) and common toxicity criteria 3° thrombocytopenia (three patients). Common toxicity criteria 3/4° non-haematological toxicity occurred in five patients (33%): 1×diarrhoea, 2×alopecia, 1×fever and in one patient worsening of pre-existing peripheral polyneuropathy from 1° to 4°. No response was observed to irinotecan therapy. Currently, 13 patients have died of the disease and two patients are alive with the disease. The patients included in our study exhibit similar prognostic characteristics as patients treated in previous trials evaluating new drugs in this setting. Irinotecan at a dose of 300–350 mg m−2 every 3 weeks appears to have no antitumour activity in patients with cisplatin-refractory germ cell cancer and, thus, further investigation in this disease is not justified.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 729–732. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600524 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.66000524
PMCID: PMC2364262  PMID: 12232755
germ cell cancer (GCT); irinotecan; cisplatin-refractory; relapse; palliative chemotherapy

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