Early salvage therapy for germ cell cancer using high dose chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow support

E. Randolph Broun, Craig R. Nichols, Martine Turns, Stephen D. Williams, Patrick J. Loehrer, Bruce J. Roth, Hillard M. Lazarus, Lawrence H. Einhorn

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65 Scopus citations


Background. Patients with relapsed germ cell cancer (GCT) have a poor prognosis when treated solely with conventional chemotherapy; high dose chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow rescue (ABMR) has shown curative potential in patients with relapsed and refractory GCT. This protocol was designed to incorporate high dose therapy with initial salvage therapy. Methods. Twenty‐three patients in the first relapse of GCT received two cycles of conventional dose cisplatin‐based therapy (either vinblastine, ifosfamide and cisplatin [VeIP] or cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin) followed by carboplatin (1500–2100 mg/m2) and etopo‐side (1200–2250 mg/m2) given in divided doses with ABMR. Results. Eighteen of 23 patients completed protocol therapy including high dose therapy. Five of 23 did not undergo high dose therapy due to: insurance refusal (1); patient refusal (1); active infection (1); central nervous system metastasis (1); death on induction therapy (1). Response to two courses of conventional dose induction therapy (N = 23) was complete response (CR), 8; partial response (PR), 12; stable disease (SD), 2; and toxic death, 1. Two of five individuals who did not continue with high dose therapy are alive and progression free after conventional salvage therapy and surgery with at least 24 months of follow‐up. Outcome after high dose therapy (N = 18) was CR, 9, PR, 6, SD, 1, and PD, 2. Two patients who were in PR after receiving two cycles of conventional dose therapy were converted to CR using high dose therapy. There was only one treatment‐related death in this cohort, a septic death during VeIP induction therapy. There were no transplant related deaths. Of those patients completing high dose therapy, 7 of 18 (39%) survived, progression free with a median follow‐up of 26 months, 2 of 18 are alive with active disease, and 9 of 18 died of recurrent disease. Conclusions. Conventional dose induction therapy followed by consolidation with high dose therapy and ABMR is well tolerated and provides prolonged disease‐free survival in some patients with chemosensitive relapsed germ cell cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1716-1720
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1994


  • bone marrow transplantation
  • carboplatin
  • etoposide
  • germ cell neoplasms


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