Combination chemotherapy with gemcitabine plus oxaliplatin in patients with intensively pretreated or refractory germ cell cancer: a study of the German Testicular Cancer Study Group

J Clin Oncol. 2004 Jan 1;22(1):108-14. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2004.06.068.


Purpose: Long-term survival is rarely achieved in patients with cisplatin-refractory germ cell cancer (GCT). Both single-agent gemcitabine and oxaliplatin have shown activity in patients who experience relapse or are refractory to cisplatin treatment. This study investigates the activity of a gemcitabine plus oxaliplatin regimen in these patients.

Patients and methods: Gemcitabine was administered at a dose of 1,000 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8; oxaliplatin was administered at a dose of 130 mg/m(2) on day 1. Response was evaluated every 4 weeks.

Results: Thirty-five patients with a median age of 37 years (range, 21 to 54 years) were enrolled onto the study. Primary tumor localization was gonadal, retroperitoneal, or mediastinal in 30, one, and four patients, respectively. Patients had been pretreated with a median of six platinum-containing cycles (range, four to 13 cycles) and 89% of patients previously had experienced treatment failure after high-dose chemotherapy with peripheral-blood stem-cell transplantation. Sixty-three percent of patients were considered absolutely cisplatin-refractory or cisplatin-refractory. A median of two cycles (range, 1 to 6 cycles) per patient were applied. Toxicity consisted mainly of myelosuppression, with Common Toxicity Criteria grade 3 occurring in 54% of patients. Only 9% of patients developed neutropenic fever. Three patients attained a complete remission (CR), two patients attained a marker-negative partial remission, and 11 patients attained a marker-positive partial remission, resulting in an overall response rate of 46% (95% CI, 30% to 64%). All three patients with CR and one patient with a marker-negative partial remission remained disease free at 16+, 12+, 4+, and 2+ months of follow-up. Seven (44%) of these 16 responses, including one CR, occurred in cisplatin-refractory patients.

Conclusion: Gemcitabine plus oxaliplatin demonstrates antitumor activity with acceptable toxicity in heavily pretreated patients with relapsed or cisplatin-refractory GCT, and may offer a chance of long-term survival for selected patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Testicular Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine