Purpose: To investigate the role of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) as first-line treatment in patients with metastatic germ cell tumor (GCT) and poor-prognostic clinical features. Serum tumor marker decline during chemotherapy was assessed prospectively as a predictor of treatment outcome. Patients and Methods: In this randomized phase III trial, previously untreated patients with intermediate- or poor-risk GCT received either four cycles of standard bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP alone), or two cycles of BEP followed by two cycles of HDCT containing carboplatin and then by hematopoietic stem-cell rescue (BEP + HDCT). Serum tumor markers alpha-fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotrophin were correlated with treatment outcome as a secondary end point. Results: Two hundred nineteen patients were randomly assigned: 108 to BEP + HDCT and 111 to BEP alone. The 1-year durable complete response rate was 52% after BEP + HDCT and 48% after BEP alone (P = .53). Patients with slow serum tumor marker decline (alpha-fetoprotein and/or human chorionic gonadotrophin) during the first two cycles of chemotherapy had a shorter progression-free survival and overall survival compared with patients with satisfactory marker decline (P = .02 and P = .03, respectively). Among 67 patients with unsatisfactory marker decline, the 1-year durable complete response proportion was 61% for patients who received HDCT versus 34% for patients receiving BEP alone (P = .03). Conclusion: The routine inclusion of HDCT in first-line treatment for GCT patients with metastases and a poor predicted outcome to chemotherapy did not improve treatment outcome. Frequent serum marker determinations to estimate marker decline during the first two cycles of BEP chemotherapy provide a clinically useful estimate of outcome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research