In November 2011, the Third European Consensus Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment of Germ-Cell Cancer (GCC) was held in Berlin, Germany. This third conference followed similar meetings in 2003 (Essen, Germany) and 2006 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [Schmoll H-J, Souchon R, Krege S et al. European consensus on diagnosis and treatment of germ-cell cancer: a report of the European Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus Group (EGCCCG). Ann Oncol 2004; 15: 1377–1399; Krege S, Beyer J, Souchon R et al. European consensus conference on diagnosis and treatment of germ-cell cancer: a report of the second meeting of the European Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus group (EGCCCG): part I. Eur Urol 2008; 53: 478–496; Krege S, Beyer J, Souchon R et al. European consensus conference on diagnosis and treatment of germ-cell cancer: a report of the second meeting of the European Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus group (EGCCCG): part II. Eur Urol 2008; 53: 497–513]. A panel of 56 of 60 invited GCC experts from all across Europe discussed all aspects on diagnosis and treatment of GCC, with a particular focus on acute and late toxic effects as well as on survivorship issues.
The panel consisted of oncologists, urologic surgeons, radiooncologists, pathologists and basic scientists, who are all actively involved in care of GCC patients. Panelists were chosen based on the publication activity in recent years. Before the meeting, panelists were asked to review the literature published since 2006 in 20 major areas concerning all aspects of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of GCC patients, and to prepare an updated version of the previous recommendations to be discussed at the conference. In addition, ∼50 E-vote questions were drafted and presented at the conference to address the most controversial areas for a poll of expert opinions. Here, we present the main recommendations and controversies of this meeting. The votes of the panelists are added as online supplements.
consensus conference; diagnosis; germ-cell cancer; late toxic effects; long-term follow-up; treatment
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
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are mesenchymal tumors that in the past were classified as leiomyosarcomas or leiomyomas not responding to standard sarcoma chemotherapy. In several phase I and II trials the efficacy and safety of imatinib was shown before the largest trial ever performed in a single sarcoma entity revealed response rates (CR/PR) of 52%. This multicenter phase II trial presented here was performed to open access to imatinib for patients with unresectable or metastastatic GIST when the EORTC 62005 trial had been closed before imatinib was approved in Germany. It was designed to follow the best clinical response and to assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of imatinib 400 mg/d in patients with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
95 patients were treated in this trial with Imatinib 400 mg/d. Four patients (4.6%) attained a complete response and 26 patients (29.9%) a partial response to imatinib treatment. Forty-one patients (47.1%) revealed a stable disease and 16 patients (18.4%) had a progressive disease.
Of the progressive patients 22% showed a partial response and 67% showed stable disease after escalating the dose to 800 mg. According to SWOG tumor response classification, 66 patients (70%) were free of progression within the first year of treatment. Seventy-one patients (74.7%) experienced adverse events or severe adverse events with a suspected relationship to the study drug. Among these, the most common were nausea (n = 27 patients, 28.4%), eyelid edema and peripheral edema in 23 patients each (24.2%), diarrhea in 20 patients (21.1%), muscle cramps in 15 patients (15.8%) and fatigue in 13 patients (13.7%).
Imatinib 400 mg/d led to disease stabilisation in 81,6% of patients with unresectable or metastatic malignant GIST. Thirty-four percent of patients attained a tumor remission (partial or complete response). The safety profile of imatinib based on adverse event assessment is favorable. Imatinib is generally well tolerated in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
Activating mutations in the cytosolic serine/threonine kinase, BRAF, have been reported in a variety of neoplasms. BRAF activation may contribute to tumor growth via activation of the MAP/ERK kinase pathway, and BRAF represents a possible therapeutic target. Activating BRAF mutations were recently reported in approximately 10% of prostate cancer cases in Asian patients. In the present study, 43 hormone refractory prostate cancers were analyzed for BRAF mutations in order to determine whether anti-BRAF therapy is a suitable approach for advanced prostate cancer patients. In all of the studied tumors, BRAF exons 11 and 15 were PCR-amplified and sequenced, including the backward and forward sequences. BRAF mutations were noted only in the positive control tissues, but were not found in any of the 43 analyzed prostate cancers. We conclude that BRAF mutations occur only rarely in prostate cancers in Caucasian patients and are not associated with tumor progression. The application of anti-BRAF therapies may therefore not be beneficial for prostate cancer.
prostate cancer; BRAF; androgen resistance
Background: A phase III trial demonstrated that cetuximab is the first agent in 30 years to improve survival when added to platinum-based chemotherapy (platinum-fluorouracil) first line for recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). This analysis of the trial assessed the impact of treatment on quality of life (QoL).
Patients and methods: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL Questionnaire-Core 30 (QLQ-C30) and QLQ-Head and Neck 35 (QLQ-H&N35) module were used to assess QoL.
Results: Of 442 patients randomly assigned, 291 (QLQ-C30) and 289 (QLQ-H&N35) patients completed at least one evaluable questionnaire. For QLQ-C30, cycle 3 and month 6 mean scores for platinum–fluorouracil plus cetuximab were not significantly worse than those for platinum–fluorouracil. Pattern-mixture analysis demonstrated a significant improvement in the global health status/QoL score in the cetuximab arm (P = 0.0415) but no treatment differences in the social functioning scale. For QLQ-H&N35, the mean score for the cetuximab arm was not significantly worse than that for the chemotherapy arm for all symptom scales at all post-baseline visits. At cycle 3, some symptom scores significantly favored the cetuximab arm (pain, swallowing, speech problems, and social eating).
Conclusion: Adding cetuximab to platinum–fluorouracil does not adversely affect the QoL of patients with recurrent and/or metastatic SCCHN.
cetuximab; cisplatin; head and neck cancer; quality of life; recurrent and metastatic
The abilities of chemokines in orchestrating cellular migration are utilised by different (patho-)biological networks including malignancies. However, except for CXCR4/CXCL12, little is known about the relation between tumour-related chemokine expression and the development and progression of solid tumours like breast cancer. In this study, microarray analyses revealed the overexpression of chemokine CXCL13 in breast cancer specimens. This finding was confirmed by real-time polymerase chain reaction in a larger set of samples (n=34) and cell lines, and was validated on the protein level performing Western blot, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. Levels of CXCR5, the receptor for CXCL13, were low in malignant and healthy breast tissues, and surface expression was not detected in vitro. However, we observed a strong (P=0.0004) correlation between the expressions of CXCL13 and CXCR5 in breast cancer tissues, indicating a biologically relevant role of CXCR5 in vivo. Finally, we detected significantly elevated serum concentrations of CXCL13 in patients with metastatic disease (n=54) as compared with controls (n=44) and disease-free patients (n=48). In conclusion, CXCL13 is overexpressed within breast cancer tissues, and increased serum levels of this cytokine can be found in breast cancer patients with metastatic disease pointing to a role of CXCL13 in the progression of breast cancer, suggesting that CXCL13 might serve as a useful therapeutic target and/or diagnostic marker in this malignancy.
chemokines; CXCL13; breast cancer; tumour expression; serum markers
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is the most common histological subtype of cancer in the upper and middle esophagus and is characterized by a high rate of mortality. The incidence of esophageal cancer varies greatly among regions of the world and occurs at a high frequency in Asia and South America.
In our department, a 51-year-old man was diagnosed with ESCC after presenting with extensive disseminated skin nodules. Biopsy of the nodules showed metastatic ESCC. Cutaneous manifestations of esophageal neoplasia are very rare and are mainly described for esophageal adenocarcinoma (EADC). Here we report a very uncommon case of extensive skin metastases of ESCC.
Early biopsies of suspicious skin lesions are important and should be performed in patients with unclear symptoms such as weight loss or dysphagia and especially in patients with a history of cancer, since they can reveal the existence of a distant malignant disease leading to diagnosis and prompt therapy.
capecitabine; mitomycin C; gastrointestinal cancer
seminoma; carboplatin; cisplatin; metastatic
testicular germ cell tumours (TGCTs); cytotoxic drugs; normoxia; hypoxia; in vitro
advanced gastrointestinal cancer; colorectal carcinoma; gastric cancer; mitomycin C; continuous infusional 5-flourouracil; phase I/II study
extragonadal germ cell tumours; mediastinal primary; high-dose chemotherapy; autologous transplantation; nonseminomatous histology
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
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
germ cell cancer (GCT); irinotecan; cisplatin-refractory; relapse; palliative chemotherapy
To assess the ability of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for the early prediction of response in patients with relapsed metastatic germ cell tumours undergoing salvage high-dose chemotherapy. The role of positron emission tomography was compared with established means of tumour response assessment such as CT scans/MRI and serum tumour marker changes. In addition, positron emission tomography was compared with a current prognostic score which differentiates three prognostic groups with failure-free survival rates ranging from 5–50%. [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose uptake of metastases from germ cell tumours as well as CT scans and serum tumour marker were acquired after 2–3 cycles of induction chemotherapy but before the start of high-dose chemotherapy and CT scans/serum tumour marker were compared with the baseline examinations in 23 patients with relapsed germ cell tumours. To evaluate the validity of early response prediction by positron emission tomography, radiological monitoring and serum tumour marker decline, histopathologic response after resection of residual masses and/or the clinical course over 6 months after the end of treatment (relapse vs freedom of progression) were used. Overall, 10 patients (43%) achieved a marker-negative partial remission, three (13%) a marker-positive partial remission, five (22%) a disease stabilization and five (22%) progressed during treatment. Nine patients (39%) remained progression-free over 6 months following treatment, whereas 14 (61%) progressed. The outcome of high-dose chemotherapy was correctly predicted by positron emission tomography/CT scan/serum tumour marker in 91/59/48%. Eight patients with a favourably predicted outcome by CT scans plus serum tumour marker but a positive positron emission tomography prior to high-dose chemotherapy, failed treatment. This results in the following sensitivities/specificities for the prediction of failure of high-dose chemotherapy: positron emission tomography 100/78%; radiological monitoring 43/78%; serum tumour marker 15/100%. The positive and negative predictive values of positron emission tomography were 88 and 100%, respectively. As compared with the prognostic score, positron emission tomography was correctly positive in all patients of the three risk groups who failed treatment. In addition, a negative positron emission tomography correctly predicted a favourable outcome in the good and intermediate group. [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography imaging can be used to assess response to chemotherapy in patients with relapsed germ cell tumours early in the course of treatment and may help to identify patients most likely to achieve a favourable response to subsequent high-dose chemotherapy. In patients with response to induction chemotherapy according to CT scans or serum tumour marker evaluation, positron emission tomography seems to add information to detect patients with an overall unfavourable outcome. It may also be a valuable addition to the prognostic model particularly in the good and intermediate group for further selection of patients who will profit from high-dose chemotherapy.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 506–511. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600122 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
germ cell cancer; response monitoring; PET; tumour markers; high-dose chemotherapy
This pilot study evaluates the degree of side effects during high-dose chemotherapy (HD-VIC) plus autologous bone marrow transplant (HDCT) and its possible prevention by the cytoprotective thiol-derivate amifostine. Additionally, the in-patient medical costs of both treatment arms were compared. 40 patients with solid tumours were randomized to receive HD-VIC chemotherapy with or without amifostine (910 mg/m2 at day 1–3) given as a short infusion prior to carboplatin and ifosfamide. Patients were stratified according to pretreatment. HDCT consisted of an 18 h infusion of carboplatin (500 mg/m2/d over 18 h), ifosfamide (4 g/m2/d over 4 h) and etoposide (500 mg/m2/d) all given for 3 consecutive days. All patients received prophylactic application of G-CSF (5 μg kg−1 subcutaneously) to ameliorate neutropenia after treatment. Patients were monitored for nephrotoxicity, gastrointestinal side effects, haematopoietic recovery, as well as frequency of fever and infections. The median fall of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was 10% from baseline in the amifostine group (105 to 95 ml min−1) and 37% in the control patient group (107 to 67 ml min−1) (P< 0.01). Amifostine-treated patients revealed a less pronounced increase in albumine and low molecular weight protein urinary excretion. Stomatitis grade III/IV occurred in 25% without versus 0% of patients with amifostine (P = 0.01). Acute nausea/vomiting was frequently observed immediately during or after the application of amifostine despite intensive antiemetic prophylaxis consisting of 5-HT3-receptor antagonists/dexamethasone/trifluorpromazine. However, delayed emesis occurred more often in the control patients. Engraftment of neutrophil (> 500 μl−1) and thrombocytes (> 25 000 μl−1)were observed at days 9 versus 10 and 10 versus 12, respectively, both slightly in favour of the amifostine arm. In addition, a lower number of days with fever and a shortened duration of hospital stay were observed in the amifostine arm. The reduction of acute toxicity observed in the amifostine arm resulted in 30% savings in costs for supportive care (Euro 4396 versus Euro 3153 per patient). Taking into account the drug costs of amifostine, calculation of in-patient treatment costs from the start of chemotherapy to discharge revealed additional costs of Euro 540 per patient in the amifostine arm. This randomized pilot study indicates that both organ and haematotoxicity of HD-VIC chemotherapy can be ameliorated by the use of amifostine. Additionally, a nearly complete preservation of GFR was observed in amifostine-treated patients which may be advantageous if repetitive cycles of HDCT are planned. Larger randomized trials evaluating amifostine cytoprotection during high-dose chemotherapy are warranted. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
toxicity; high-dose chemotherapy; PBSC transplantation; cytoprotection; amifostine; pharmacoeconomics
To evaluate the toxicity and efficacy of combination chemotherapy with paclitaxel, cisplatin and 24 h continuous infusion of 5-FU/folinic acid in patients (pts) with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma. Forty-five chemotherapy-naive pts (28 male and 17 female) with a median age of 60 years (range 35–74) were enrolled. 5-FU 2 g/m2was given weekly over 24 h i.v. preceded by folinic acid 500 mg/m2as a 2 h infusion. Paclitaxel 175 mg/m2was administered as a 3 h-infusion on days 1 and 22 and cisplatin 50 mg/m2as 1 h infusion on days 8 and 29. Six weeks of therapy (days 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 36) followed by 2 weeks rest were considered one cycle. A median of 3 cycles (range 1–4) were administered to 45 pts assessable for response, survival and toxicity. Five pts (11%) obtained a CR and 18 pts (40%) a PR (ORR 51%; 95% Cl: 35.8–66.3%). Responses were achieved in the liver, lymph nodes, lungs and at the site of the primary tumour. Nine pts (20%) had stable disease. Thirteen pts (29%) were considered to have failed treatment, 8 pts (18%) due to progressive disease and 5 pts (11%) who did not receive one complete cycle of therapy due to acute non-haematologic toxicity. The median progression-free and overall survival times were 9 months (range 1–36+) and 14 months (range 2–36+), respectively. Neutropenia WHO III°/IV° occurred in 7 pts (15%) with only 1 pt having grade IV. Additional non-haematologic WHO III°/IV° toxicities included nausea/vomiting in 5 (11%), alopecia in 22 (49%), and diarrhoea in 1 patient each (2%). Dose reductions or treatment delays were necessary in 8 pts (17%), mainly due to neutropenia. All pts were treated on an outpatient basis. The combination of paclitaxel, cisplatin and continuously infused 5-FU/folinic acid appears to be a highly active regimen for the treatment of pts with advanced gastric cancer. While the overall acceptable toxicity allows its use in the palliative setting, it may also be an attractive option to be tested for neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
gastric cancer; metastatic; chemotherapy; paclitaxel; continuous infusion
The p27Kip1 gene has been identified as inductor of cell cycle arrest at the G1 checkpoint to prevent entry of somatic cells into the S phase of the cell cycle when substantial DNA damage has occurred. It has been suggested that decreased expression of the p27Kip1 protein may contribute to the development of human malignancies due to loss of critical antiproliferative mechanisms. In the present study, 95 specimens (T1–T4) from 95 randomly selected patients undergoing radical prostatectomy at the Urological Department of Hannover University (82 patients) as well as in the Josef Hospital Regensburg (13 patients) between 1981 and 1992 for whom tissue blocks for immunohistochemical investigation were available, were investigated for different biological and clinical characteristics as possible predictors for recurrence-free and long-term survival: age, depth of tumour infiltration, histological grade, lymph node status, as well as decreased expression of the p27Kip1 protein. After a median follow-up up of 56 months (24–151 months), seven of 21 (33%) patients (Group 1) with loss of p27Kip1 protein expression or a relative amount of <10% of positively stained tumour cells developed recurrent disease in contrast to 17 of 74 (23%) patients (Group 2) with retained p27Kip1 protein expression (≥10% of positively stained tumour cells). The median recurrence-free survival was 14 months (5–40 months) for patients from Group 1 and 31 months (7–133 months) for Group 2 patients (P = 0.02). In multivariate analysis, loss of p27Kip1 protein expression was identified as the only independent prognostic parameter for recurrence-free survival. In contrast, neither the univariate nor the multivariate analysis showed a correlation between loss of p27Kip1 protein expression and the long-term survival of the patients. Prospective studies are urgently needed to confirm the independent prognostic value of decreased p27Kip1 protein expression together with overexpression of the p53 tumour suppressor protein in patients with localized prostate cancer. The availability of more refined prognostically important biological variables in addition to established prognostic factors like tumour stage or Gleason score might help decision making in patients at high risk for the development of local recurrence or systemic tumour progression. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
prostate cancer; prognosis; p27Kip1 gene
This study evaluates the degree and relevance of persisting ototoxicity after cisplatin-based standard-dose chemotherapy for testicular cancer, with emphasis on identification of potential factors for an increased risk of this late sequel. Hearing thresholds of 86 patients with a median age of 31 years (range 21-53 years) and a median follow-up time of 58 months (range 15-159 months) were assessed by conventional pure-tone audiometry. Interviews were conducted evaluating the patients' history with special regard to audiological risk factors, as well as circumstances of ototoxic symptoms. Details concerning treatment and patient variables were extracted retrospectively from the patients' charts. An additional screening programme assessed current body functions, blood parameters and other late toxicities. Symptomatic ototoxicity persisted in 20% of patients (59% tinnitus, 18% hearing loss, 23% both), while 10% had experienced completely reversible ototoxic symptoms for a duration of 1-18 months after treatment. Symptoms were bilateral in 81% of patients. Hearing thresholds were compatible with cisplatin-induced hearing loss in 42% of audiograms performed. Subjective (history) and objective (audiogram) findings were not always consistent. The following statistically significant risk factors for ototoxicity were established: high cumulative dose of cisplatin (P < 0.0001); history of noise exposure (P = 0.006). Additionally, high doses of vincristine (P = 0.001) seemed to result in reversible ototoxic symptoms. No other independent risk factors were identified. In conclusion, persisting ototoxicity represents a clinical sequel for approximately 20% of testicular cancer patients treated at standard dose but may affect more than 50% of patients receiving cumulative doses of cisplatin > 400 mg m(-2). Previous noise exposure may also result in a threefold increased risk for cisplatin ototoxicity. Future studies should use these risk factors as important stratification criteria for trials aiming at the evaluation and prevention of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity.
Cisplatin is one of the most active cytotoxic agents in the treatment of testicular cancer, but its clinical use is associated with side-effects such as ototoxicity, neurotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Long-term kidney damage from cisplatin particularly affects the proximal tubular apparatus and can be detected by increased urinary excretion of brush-border enzymes, such as L-alanine-aminopeptidase (AAP), and magnesium. In the current study, the flavonoid silibinin was used as a nephroprotectant for cisplatin-induced nephropathy in a rat animal model. Infusion of silibinin before cisplatin results in a significant decrease in glomerular (indicated by creatinine clearance and serum urea level) and tubular kidney toxicity (excretion of brush-border enzymes and magnesium). Silibinin given alone had no effect on renal function. In order to exclude an inhibition of the anti-tumour activity of cisplatin and 4-hydroperoxy-ifosfamide by co-administration of silibinin, in vitro studies were performed in three established human testicular cancer cell lines. Dose-response curves for cisplatin (3-30 000 nmol) combined with non-toxic silibinin doses (7.25 x 10(-6) or 7.25 x 10(-5) mol l-1) did not deviate significantly from those of cisplatin alone as measured by relative cell survival during a 5 day assay using the sulphorhodamine-B staining technique. Also silibinin did not influence the cytotoxic activity of 4-hydroperoxy-ifosfamide (30-10 000 nmol) in vitro. In summary, these in vitro data rule out a significant inhibition of the anti-tumour activity of the major nephrotoxic components, cisplatin and 4-hydroperoxy-ifosfamide, by co-administration of silibinin in a human germ cell tumour cell line model. Together with these demonstrated cytoprotection effects in the rat animal model, these data form the basis for a randomised clinical trial of silibinin for the protection of cisplatin-associated nephrotoxicity in patients with testicular cancer.
Type and extent of endocrinological alterations were studied in long-term disease-free survivors after cisplatin-based chemotherapy for testicular cancer. A total of 63 patients with a median age of 30 (19-53) years, and median follow-up of 42 (16-128) months were included. Elevated serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were found in 63% of patients, 24% showed pathologically elevated luteinising hormone (LH) levels with normal and 10% with subnormal testosterone levels. The degree of gonadotropin elevation was highly significantly correlated with the cumulative platinum (P) dose. Patients treated with platinum-vinblastine-bleomycin regimens showed higher gonadotropin levels than those treated with platinum-etoposide-bleomycin. The adrenal androgen dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), pathologically elevated in 68% of patients, was significantly correlated with the cumulative doses of chemotherapy (ctx) used and to the gonadotropin levels. Treatment variables, such as type and dose of cytotoxic agents used, as well as degree of gonadotropin elevation were further correlated with changes in oestron, testosterone and 17 alpha-OH-progesterone levels. Cholesterol levels were elevated in 32% of patients and significant interactions between the steroid hormone levels and cardiovascular risk factors could be shown.
Although patients with superficial bladder cancer (Ta, T1) have a generally good prognosis, those patients who develop muscle-invasive tumours or metastatic disease at recurrence do poorly clinically. In the current study 69 patients undergoing complete transurethral resection for superficial transitional cell cancer of the bladder were investigated for different clinical and biological characteristics as possible prognostic factors: age, sex, performance of instillation therapy and immunohistochemical determination of mutational inactivation of p53 tumour-suppressor gene (monoclonal antibody PAb 1801) as well as immunohistochemical determination of the proliferation rate by staining for PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) (monoclonal antibody PC 10). After a median follow-up of 45.8 months, 12 of 14 patients (85.7%) with more than 20% of cells positive for p53 had disease progression with muscle-invasive growth compared with only one of 55 patients (1.8%) negative for p53 (P < 0.01, chi 2 test). During univariate analysis histological grade (G1 vs G2) (P = 0.0373), positivity for PCNA (> 60% of cells) (P = 0.0033) and positivity for p53 (P < 0.001) were significant prognostic factors for disease progression (log-rank test), while during multivariate analysis only positivity for p53 was a significant predictor for relapse of bladder cancer (P = 0.0029) (multivariate Cox regression analysis). The immunohistochemical detection of mutations of the p53 gene has been demonstrated to be a reliable, easily performed and thereby widely available technique for the investigation of fresh-frozen or paraffin-embedded tumour specimens. The results demonstrate the important role of the p53 tumour-suppressor gene protein in the development and for the progression of bladder cancer. If the high prognostic value of p53 mutations in superficial bladder cancer is confirmed in larger prospective trials, more aggressive therapeutic strategies could be discussed for patients with p53 mutations in their tumour specimens.
Ifosfamide is clinically used in combination chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of patients with high-grade lymphomas, sarcomas and metastatic germ cell tumours. In order to reduce the oxazophosphorine-related urothelial toxicity, sodium mercaptoethane sulphonate (mesna) is used in different schedules following the administration of ifosfamide. The proposed mechanism of mesna activity is the binding of toxic oxazaphosphorine metabolites such as acrolein in the urine of the patients. Since an influence of mesna on ifosfamide anti-tumour activity is controversial, the current study has used xenografts from two human testicular cancer cell lines heterotransplanted into nude mice to study the anti-tumour activity of ifosfamide in combination with different dosages and schedules of mesna. In both human testicular cancer cell lines, H 12.1 and 2102 EP, ifosfamide demonstrated anti-tumour activity as a single agent. No reduction in ifosfamide activity was observed with the application of mesna at a dose range from 50% to 200% of the ifosfamide dose. Furthermore, the application of mesna before and 3 h after ifosfamide, a schedule used in many clinical protocols because of the short half life of mesna, not only maintained high ifosfamide anti-tumour activity but also seemed to be associated with the lower systemic and urothelial toxicity of ifosfamide therapy compared with ifosfamide given alone. In conclusion, the experimental in vivo system using human heterotransplanted testicular cancer cell lines confirms the significant anti-tumour activity of ifosfamide in malignant germ cell tumours and demonstrates that mesna does not impair ifosfamide anti-tumour activity in this model. These results are most likely transferable to the use of mesna in patients with metastatic testicular cancer.