Role of salvage therapy in chemo resistant or recurrent high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasm

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2019 Mar;29(3):547-553. doi: 10.1136/ijgc-2018-000050. Epub 2019 Jan 29.


Objectives: To assess the importance of salvage therapy in the management of high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (HR GTN) after failure of first line multiagent chemotherapy.

Methods: This retrospective study involving women with HR GTN treated at Kidwai cancer institute from 2000 to 2015. Initial chemotherapy consisted of etoposide, methotrexate with folinic acid, actinomycin D, cyclophosphamide and vincristine (EMA-CO). Thirty one patients who had incomplete response or relapsed were treated with various drug combinations employing etoposide and platinum agents. Adjuvant surgery and radiation were used in selected patients. Clinical response, survival and factors affecting outcomes were analysed.

Results: Thirty one (37.8%) of the 82 patients developed resistance or relapsed after EMA-CO.Of these 25 (80.6%) had lasting complete response to salvage therapy. Salvage chemotherapy included, EMA EP alone in-15, EMA EP followed with BIP in-1, EMAEP followed with VAC in-2, EMA EP followed by TC and VAC in-1, EMA EP followed by TC in-6, TC followed by IA in-1 patient. Irradiation was given to 6 patients for brain metastasis, 1 for spine metastasis, 1 for pelvic tumor, and 1 for mediastinal mass. Operative procedures were hysterectomy in 9, conservative uterine tumour resection in 4 and excision of resistant lung lesion in one. Median follow up 25 (80.6%) patients was 2 years. Complete response to salvage therapy was seen in 25 (80.6%) patients. Overall survival after salvage therapy was 87.1% with median follow up of 2 years. Remission and survival was significantly influenced by βhCG level at the start of salvage therapy (p<0.001 and 0.006) but not with the stage or with WHO score.

Conclusions: Salvage therapy with platinum/etoposide based drug regimens in conjunction with surgery and radiation, was successful in achieving significant cure and survival in HR-GTN patients.

Keywords: chemo resistant or recurrent; high risk GTN; salvage therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / drug therapy
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / radiotherapy
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / surgery
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Salvage Therapy / methods*
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult