High-Dose Chemotherapy in Relapsed or Refractory Metastatic Germ-Cell Cancer: The Scotland Experience

Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2019 Apr;17(2):125-131. doi: 10.1016/j.clgc.2018.11.013. Epub 2018 Nov 17.


Purpose: To report outcomes from high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) for metastatic germ-cell cancer in Scotland.

Patients and methods: All patients who underwent this treatment between the years 2001 and 2016 at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow were identified. Information regarding baseline patient and tumor characteristics, prognostic features, HDCT delivery, and survival outcomes were obtained retrospectively from patients' medical records.

Results: Eighteen patients (15 male and 3 female subjects) received HDCT and ASCT in the salvage setting. Of the 14 male patients who had relapsed disease, 8 (57%) were high or very high risk according to the International Prognostic Factor Study Group (IPFSG) risk categorization. The mean time interval between HDCT cycles was 8.6 weeks, which is longer than the specified 3 to 4 weeks in the literature. A total of 67% of patients had no biochemical or radiologic evidence of disease after salvage treatment, including surgery. Progression-free survival and overall survival rates at 2 years were 67% and 72%, respectively. However, 12 patients (67%) and 6 patients (39%) had long-term neurotoxicity and ototoxicity, respectively.

Conclusion: Delivery of HDCT and ASCT as salvage treatment for metastatic germ-cell cancer is feasible within a tertiary cancer center with survival outcomes comparable to published literature, although maintaining dose intensity is a challenge. We hope to recruit subjects to the international TIGER trial (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02375204), which will attempt to clarify if HDCT is superior to conventional-dose chemotherapy in the salvage setting.

Keywords: Autologous stem cell transplant; Germ cell cancer; High-dose chemotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy
  • Scotland
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Transplantation, Autologous / adverse effects
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02375204