Purpose: We analyzed prognostic categories at first relapse according to the International Prognostic Factors Study Group (IPFSG) criteria as well as the efficacy of salvage treatment.
Methods: 143 patients with relapsed or refractory germ cell cancer undergoing first salvage treatment with conventional-dose (CD-CX, n = 48) or high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell support (HD-CX, n = 95) contributed by nine centers were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: Prognostic subgroups according to IPFSG criteria were: very low risk 13/143, low risk 36/143, intermediate risk 66/143, high risk 22/143, and very high risk 6/143 patients. The IPFSG categories significantly correlated with overall survival (OS) (p = 0.025) after 1st salvage treatment. After a median follow-up of 19 months, 55 % of all patients had relapsed and 33 % had died. For the entire cohort, progression-free survival (PFS) rate after 2 years was 43 %, and OS rate after 5 years was 52 %. Compared to the HD-CX group, vital carcinoma was found more often in secondarily resected lesions following CD-CX (22/29 vs. 22/45; p = 0.021). Second relapse rate was higher with 75 versus 44 %, resulting in a shorter median PFS with 8 versus 42 months (p < 0.001), but this did not translate into different OS (p = 0.931). At subsequent relapses, 26/36 patients received HD-CX as ≥2nd-salvage treatment.
Conclusion: This analysis confirms the prognostic value of the IPFSG prognostic score. HD-CX seemed superior to CD-CX as first salvage treatment with respect to PFS in this retrospective analysis.