Secondary chemotherapy for high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia

John R. Lurain, Bahareh M Nejad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the efficacy of secondary chemotherapy after failure of initial treatment for high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia. Methods. Twenty-six patients with high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia based on WHO criteria who failed primary treatment or relapsed from remission and received secondary chemotherapy were identified from the records of the Brewer Trophoblastic Disease Center. Initial chemotherapy consisted of etoposide, high-dose methotrexate with folinic acid, actinomycin D, cyclophosphamide and vincristine (EMA-CO) in 10 patients and methotrexate/actinomycin D-based chemotherapy without etoposide in 16 patients. Secondary chemotherapy consisted mainly of platinum-etoposide combinations with methotrexate and actinomycin D (EMA-EP), bleomycin (BEP), or ifosfamide (VIP, ICE). Adjuvant surgery and radiotherapy were used in selected patients. Clinical response and survival as well as factors affecting survival were analyzed retrospectively. Methods. The overall survival has 61.5% (16/26). Of the 10 patients who failed primary treatment with EMA-CO, 9 (90%) had complete clinical responses to secondary chemotherapy with EMA-EP (3) or BEP (6), and 6 (60%) were placed into lasting remission. Of the 16 patients who failed primary treatment with methotrexate/actinomycin D-based chemotherapy without etoposide, 10 (63%) had complete clinical responses to BEP (8), VIP (1) and ICE (1), and 10 (63%) achieved long-term remission. Adjuvant surgical procedures were performed on 15 patients as a component of their therapy; eight (73%) of 11 patients who underwent hysterectomy, five (62%) of eight patients who had pulmonary resections, and one patient who had wedge resection of resistant choriocarcinoma from the uterus survived. Survival was significantly influenced by both hCG level at the start of secondary therapy and sites of metastases. Conclusion. Patients with persistent or recurrent high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia who develop resistance to methotrexate-containing treatment protocols should be treated with drug combinations employing a platinum agent and etoposide with or without bleomycin or ifosfamide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-623
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Oncology


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