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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).
Accelerated BEP is tolerable without major additional toxicity. A randomised controlled trial will be required to obtain comparative efficacy data.
accelerated; chemotherapy; growth factors; germ cell tumours; dose-density; bleomycin
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.
adjuvant chemotherapy; stage I non-seminoma
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.
germ-cell tumor; high-dose chemotherapy; phase III
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.
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
chemotherapy; dose-dense chemotherapy; germ-cell tumours; International Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus Group; non-seminomatous germ cell-tumours
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.
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).
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).
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.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN32132990.
Testicular cancer; anti neoplasms; resistance exercise; muscle morphology
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.
BEP chemotherapy; ovarian cancer; cardiotoxicity; myocardial ischemia; chest pain
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.
cisplatin; ifosfamide; metastatic germ cell cancer; paclitaxel; salvage chemotherapy
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.
chemotherapy; gene expression; gene regulation; Jun protooncogene; round spermatids; spermatogenesis; testicular cancer; toxicology
Between February 1986 and July 1988 a total of 21 children aged 1 to 16 years with malignant germ cell tumours (MGCT), 18 with either metastatic disease or unresectable primary tumour, received the JEB regimen - carboplatin dosage calculated from the EDTA glomerular filtration rate (approximately 600 mg m-2), etoposide 120 mg m-2 daily x 3, and bleomycin 15 mg m-2 weekly. Primary sites were: testis (6), ovary (8), sacrococcyx (4), pineal gland (2) and vagina (1). AFP levels were elevated in 19, beta-HCG in 8. Complete marker response was achieved in 19 out of 19 evaluable patients and complete remission of measurable tumour in 16 out of 19, 12 with chemotherapy alone and 4 with the addition of surgery. A reduction in glomerular filtration rate greater than 10% occurred in 3 of 12 evaluable patients; in none greater than 20%. Sequential audiography was normal in 11 out of 12 evaluated. The regimen was myelosuppressive with WHO grade III or IV myelosuppression occurring in 12 patients. Three patients have relapsed; one with a pineal germinoma who relapsed in the abdomen six months after diagnosis, and two with sacrococcygeal teratomas and lung metastases. Two of these remain in second complete remission after further treatment. There was one death from probable bleomycin pulmonary toxicity. We conclude that this regimen is simple to administer and, apart from myelosuppression, it is well tolerated. It appears to have comparable efficacy to cisplatin-based regimens but with much less nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity and avoids the use of alkylating agents and anthracyclines.
► Growing teratoma syndrome (GTS) with unusual liver locations are described after fertility preserving surgery and chemotherapy treatment for mixed malignant ovarian germ cell tumors (MGCT). ► It's a rare syndrome of mixed malignant ovarian germ cell tumors and in both cases enlarged and growing liver masses appeared during cisplatin–etoposide–bleomicin (BEP) chemotherapy. ► Radiological exams (CT scan and MRI) were suggestive for secondary metastasis and serum markers became negative during chemotherapy.
Growing teratoma syndrome; Liver mass; Malignant ovary germ cell tumors
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.
To determine the impact of treatment protocols on the outcome of central nervous system germ cell tumors (CNS-GCTs), we reviewed the medical records of 53 patients who received front-line chemotherapy from September 1997 to September 2006. Pure germinoma, normal alpha-fetoprotein level and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin level <50 mIU/mL were regarded as low-risk features and the others as high-risk. Patients from different time periods were divided into 3 groups according to the chemotherapy protocols. Group 1 (n=19) received 4 cycles of chemotherapy comprising cisplatin, etoposide and bleomycin. Group 2 (n=16) and group 3 (n=18) received 4 cycles of chemotherapy with cisplatin, etoposide, cyclophosphamide and vincristine in the former and with carboplatin, etoposide, cyclophosphamide and bleomycin in the latter. In group 2 and group 3, high-risk patients received double doses of cisplatin, carboplatin and cyclophosphamide. Radiotherapy was given after chemotherapy according to the clinical requirements. The event-free survivals of groups 1, 2, and 3 were 67.0%, 93.8%, and 100%, respectively (group 1 vs. 2, P=0.06; group 2 vs. 3, P=0.29; group 1 vs. 3, P=0.02). Our data suggest that risk-adapted intensive chemotherapy may improve the outcome of patients with malignant CNS-GCTs.
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal; Central Nervous System; Drug Therapy; Survival
Between July 1979 and December 1981, 43 patients with metastatic germ-cell tumours (36 testicular non-seminomas and 7 testicular seminomas) were treated with 2-6 cycles of bleomycin, etoposide and cis-platin (BEP). Forty (93%) are alive, 37 (86%) with no evidence of disease. Of 36 men with testicular non-seminoma 30 (83.3%) are alive and disease-free at 8-38 months (median 17.0 months). In the latter group 25/28 (89.3%) who had had no prior irradiation are alive and disease-free. Fourteen non-seminoma patients had small volume metastases and 13 are in complete remission, as are 12/14 patients with bulky disease. All 7 patients with advanced seminoma are alive and disease-free. It is concluded that BEP is a well tolerated and effective first line treatment for patients with metastatic germ-cell tumours.
First-line sequential high dose chemotherapy is under investigation in patients with ‘poor prognosis’ metastatic germ cell tumours in order to improve survival. Despite the use of autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation and granulocyte colony stimulating factor chemotherapy dose intensification is associated with severe haematotoxicity including anaemia, which may significantly affect quality of life and tolerability of chemotherapy. This study investigates the frequency and degree of anaemia in patients receiving first-line sequential high dose chemotherapy for metastatic testicular cancer and the impact of anaemia on treatment outcome. A total of 101 newly diagnosed patients with ‘poor prognosis’ metastatic nonseminomatous germ cell tumours were treated with one cycle of standard VIP followed by three cycles of HD-VIP-chemotherapy (etoposide, ifosfamide, cisplatin) within a large phase I/II study. Differential blood cell counts were taken prior, during and after every cycle of chemotherapy. Additionally, the numbers of red blood cell and platelet transfusions were recorded. Kaplan–Meier analyses were performed to correlate pre-treatment and post-treatment haemoglobin values to response and overall survival. Forty-eight per cent of the patients were classified anaemic (haemoglobin <12 g dl−1) prior to the start of chemotherapy. The application of sequential HD-VIP resulted in median haemoglobin nadirs between 7.8 g dl−1 (range 5.5–11.1 g dl−1) in the first cycle and 7.6 g dl−1 (range 6.0–11.4 g dl−1) in the third cycle despite the frequent use of red blood cell transfusions. Almost all patients (99%) had haemoglobin levels <10 g dl−1 at some timepoint during first-line sequential high dose chemotherapy. Overall, 97 patients received red blood cell transfusions with a median of 10 units (range 2–25) per patient during the four consecutive cycles of therapy. The time to first transfusion was shortest in patients with the lowest initial haemoglobin values. While there was no prediction of response or outcome by baseline haemoglobin-levels, a significant survival difference in favour of patients with a haemoglobin value >10.5 g dl−1 after completion of four cycles of therapy (at leukocyte recovery after the last cycle) compared to those with haemoglobin values <10.5 g dl−1 was found with 3-year overall survival rates of 87% vs 68%, respectively (P<0.05). Severe anaemia is a very frequent side effect of sequential dose intensive therapy in patients with germ cell cancer, with almost all patients becoming transfusion dependent. Despite the frequent use of red blood cell transfusions, median haemoglobin nadirs remained about 7.5–8 g dl−1 during therapy. A correlation of haemoglobin-values after completion of therapy to overall treatment outcome was found.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 1066–1071. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600629 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
germ cell tumour; anaemia; prognostic factors; autologous blood stem cell transplantation; chemotherapy; cisplatin
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.
Testicular tumor; Immature teratoma; Growing teratoma syndrome; Interferon-α
This randomised trial was conducted to compare a four-drug chemotherapy regimen as a control vs a less intensive two-drug regimen in terms of quality of life (QL), tumour response and survival in the palliative treatment of patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and poor prognosis. A total of 310 patients with extensive SCLC or limited disease but poor performance status were allocated at random to two chemotherapy regimens, each given on 3 consecutive days at 3 week intervals for three cycles: etoposide, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and vincristine (ECMV, 154 patients) or etoposide and vincristine (EV, 156 patients). QL was assessed by patients using the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and a daily diary card. Specific disease- and treatment-related symptoms were recorded by clinicians. The levels of palliation were high and similar in the two groups, although the ECMV regimen was on balance superior in palliating physical symptoms and reducing psychological distress. The EV regimen caused less toxicity, particularly mucositis, which, using Kaplan-Meier curves, occurred in an estimated 34% of patients compared with 54% in the ECMV group. The estimated rates of WHO grade 2 or worse haematological toxicity were 21% in the EV compared with 38% in the ECMV patients. There was no overall difference in response or survival; the median survival periods were 141 days in the ECMV group and 137 in the EV group and the survival rates 37% and 38% at 6 months and 12% and 10% at 1 year respectively. Nevertheless, 37 ECMV patients died within 3 weeks of starting the first cycle of chemotherapy (24 of them during the 2nd week) compared with 18 (9) EV patients. The EV regimen is a useful palliative regimen for patients with SCLC and poor prognosis.
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.
GAMEC; methotrexate; high dose; germ cell
Type I hypersensitivity reactions to intravenous administration of etoposide are
extremely rare. Etoposide is an essential component of several chemotherapy
regimens used in gynecologic oncology, and discontinuation of this drug during a
course of treatment should only be due to severe patient intolerance. We report
the successful use of intravenous etoposide phosphate as a substitute drug in a
patient with a yolk sac tumor who manifested a Type I hypersensitivity to
intravenous etoposide. The patient ultimately completed all 4 cycles of
bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin (BEP) using etoposide phosphate as a substitute
Choriocarcinoma in the testis is very rare, and it represents less than 1% (0.3%) of all the testicular germ cell tumors. It is a particularly aggressive variant of non-seminoma tumor, which is characterized by a high serum β-HCG level and multiple lung metastases. The optimal management for this disease remains undefined. We report here on a case of choriocarcinoma with multiple lung metastases, and the patient has achieved continuous remission for 2 years after combination chemotherapy of BEP (bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin) and sequential high-dose chemotherapy with autologous peripheral stem cell rescue.
Neoplasms; Germ cell and embryonal; Testicular choriocarcinoma; High-dose chemotherapy
Malignant transformation describes the phenomenon in which a somatic component of a germ cell teratoma undergoes malignant differentiation. A variety of different types of sarcoma and carcinoma, all non-germ cell, have been described as a result of malignant transformation.
A 33-year-old man presented with a left testicular mass and elevated tumour markers. Staging investigations revealed retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy with obstruction of the left ureter and distant metastases. Histopathology from the left radical orchiectomy showed a mixed germ cell tumour (Stage III, poor prognosis). The ureter was stented and four cycles of cisplatin, etoposide and bleomycin chemotherapy administered. After initial remission, the patient recurred four years later with a large retroperitoneal mass involving the renal vessels and the left ureter. Left retroperitoneal lymph node dissection with en-bloc resection of the left kidney was performed.
Histopathology revealed a germ cell tumour metastasis consisting mainly of mature teratoma. Additionally, within the teratoma a papillary renal cell carcinoma was found. The diagnosis was supported by immunohistochemistry showing positivity for AMACR, CD10 and focal expression of RCC and CK7. There was no radiological or histo-pathological evidence of a primary renal cell cancer.
To the best of our knowledge, malignant transformation into a papillary renal cell carcinoma has not been reported in a testicular germ cell tumour metastasis following platinum-based chemotherapy. This histological diagnosis might have implications for potential future therapies. In the case of disease recurrence, renal cell cancer as origin of the recurrent tumour has to be excluded because renal cell carcinoma metastases would not respond well to the classical germ cell tumour chemotherapy regimens.
Retroperitoneal teratoma; Malignant transformation; Germ cell tumour metastasis; Renal cell cancer
The UK Medical Research Council conducted this trial of carboplatin chemotherapy in advanced seminoma to compare single agent carboplatin with a standard combination of etoposide with cisplatin. The use of single agent carboplatin was expected to be associated with reduced toxicity. A total of 130 patients with advanced seminoma were randomly assigned to treatment with either single agent carboplatin (C) at a dose of 400 mg/m2 to be corrected for glomerular filtration rate outside the range 81–120 ml min–1 and to be administered on day 1 of a 21 day cycle to a total of 4 cycles or to etoposide + platinum (EP). The trial was designed as an equivalence study aiming to exclude a reduction in the 3-year progression-free survival in patients allocated to carboplatin of between 10 and 15%, requiring initially a target accrual of 250 patients (90% power significance level 5% (one-sided)). The trial closed after 130 patients had been randomized following recommendation by an independent data monitoring committee. At a median follow-up time of 4.5 years, 81% of patients had been followed up for at least 3 years and 19 patients have died. The estimated PFS rate (95% Confidence Intervals (CI)) at 3 years was 71% (60–82%) in patients allocated C and 81% (71–90%) in those allocated EP; the 95% CI for the difference in 3 year PFS was – 6% to +19%. The hazard ratio of 0.64 (95% CI 0.32–1.28) favoured EP but the difference was not statistically significant (log rank chi-squared = 1.59 P = 0.21). The 3-year survival rate was 84% (75–92%) in those allocated C, and 89% (81–96%) in those allocated EP. The hazard ratio for survival was 0.85 with 95% CI, 0.35–2.10, log rank chi-squared = 0.12, P = 0.73. The trial has not demonstrated statistically significant differences in the major survival endpoints comparing single agent carboplatin with a combination of etoposide + cisplatin. This cannot be taken as an indication of equivalence since the limited size of this trial rendered it unable to exclude a 19% lower progression-free survival and survival in those treated with single agent carboplatin which would be important clinically. Standard initial chemotherapy for advanced seminoma should be based on cisplatin combinations and the role of carboplatin awaits the outcome of further studies. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
seminoma; germ cell tumour; chemotherapy; cisplatin; carboplatin; randomized control trial
Ovarian cancer rarely complicates pregnancy. Usually these malignancies consist of germ cell tumors. Preserving maternal safety along with favorable neonatal outcome is a subject of debate in the management of ovarian cancer during pregnancy. In this report, the authors describe a 25-year-old primigravid woman who was diagnosed to with an ovarian immature teratoma which was diagnosed at 13th weeks of pregnancy during a routine sonography. She underwent oophorectomy at week 21 of her gestation. Then she received three cycles of BEP regimen (bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin) during her pregnancy until week 37 of gestation. At 36 weeks she delivered a male baby with mild glandular hypospadia who was otherwise normal. Management of immature teratoma after the first trimester of pregnancy is similar to non-pregnant patients and is safe for both the mother and the fetus.
Germ cell tumor; Ovary; Pregnancy; Chemotherapy