Background: Extracranial nontesticular germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare malignancies in children and adolescents. Cisplatin-containing regimens and complete tumor resection are important determinants for a favorable outcome; however, patients with recurrent tumors that cannot be eradicated by surgical procedures and chemotherapy have a poor prognosis. Noninvasive electromagnetic technologies for superficial and regional deep hyperthermia (RHT) are under investigation to enhance local tumor control in various malignancies. The objectives of this Phase I/II study were to examine 1) whether RHT can be used in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy with acceptable toxicity in children and adolescents and 2) whether this combined regimen can induce objective tumor response in patients with malignant nontesticular GCT that persisted or recurred locoregionally after validated, intensive, cisplatin-based chemotherapy +/- surgery as unsuccessful first-line treatment.
Methods: The authors studied the effects of RHT induced by electromagnetic waves in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy in ten children and adolescents with recurrent or refractory GCTs.
Results: Seven of ten patients with recurrent or refractory GCTs had objective responses. Of these, two patients had a partial response and five patients had a complete response.
Conclusions: The results of the current study found that combined RHT and platinum-based chemotherapy can be used in children and adolescents. This regimen was found to induce objective tumor response in 70% of study patients with recurrent or refractory GCTs. The results thus far are encouraging and the study has been extended to patients with a poor response to first-line treatment.