Vinblastine monotherapy induction prior to radiotherapy for patients with intracranial germinoma during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2021 Sep 14;e29359. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29359. Online ahead of print.


Background: Patients with localized intracranial germinoma have excellent survival. Reducing treatment burden and long-term sequelae is a priority. Intensive inpatient chemotherapy (e.g., carboPEI = carboplatin/etoposide/ifosfamide) has been effectively employed to reduce radiotherapy treatment volume/dose. Outpatient-based carboplatin monotherapy is associated with excellent outcomes in metastatic testicular seminoma (an identical pathology), and successful vinblastine monotherapy induction (with 77% tumor volume reduction after just two weekly vinblastine doses) has recently been reported in an intracranial germinoma patient.

Methods: Adapted UK guidelines for germ cell tumor management were distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including nonstandard treatment options to reduce hospital visits and/or admissions. This included vinblastine monotherapy for intracranial germinoma (6 mg/m2 intravenously, or 4 mg/m2 for moderate count suppression, delivered weekly). We describe two such patients treated using this approach.

Results: A 30-year-old male with a localized pineal tumor received 12-week vinblastine induction, with >60% volume reduction, prior to definitive radiotherapy. A 12-year-old female with a metastatic suprasellar tumor and progression at all sites of disease whilst awaiting proton radiotherapy received two vinblastine doses with good early response, including 36% primary tumor volume reduction. The patients tolerated vinblastine well.

Conclusion: Patients with intracranial germinoma have excellent outcomes, and reduction of late effects remains a priority. The description of vinblastine monotherapy in these intracranial germinoma patients warrants further exploration.

Keywords: carboPEI; carboplatin; germinoma; intracranial; monotherapy; vinblastine.