High-dose chemotherapy for male germ cell tumor

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Today, 20–30% of male patients with advanced germ cell tumor (GCT) do not have durable, complete remission in spite of cis-platinum (CDDP)-based chemotherapy. High-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) has been tried in CDDP refractory GCT patients. Initially HDCT was performed with autologous bone marrow transplantation in heavily treated patients. However, the clinical outcome was not good and the treatment-related death rate was not ignorable. Therefore, earlier introduction of HDCT with peripheral blood stem cell transplantation was preferable as it renders HDCT more effective and less toxic, and multicycle HDCT is feasible. The durable free rate of recent HDCT for refractory GCT patients is 32–65%. HDCT is also performed as first line chemotherapy for poor prognosis GCT patients. Induction chemotherapy followed by multicycles of HDCT was tried. The durable free rate of recent HDCT as first line chemotherapy is 43–73%. Although previous reports suggest the superiority of HDCT, one recent randomized controlled trial (RCT) failed to show an improvement with one cycle of HDCT followed by three cycles of standard-dose chemotherapy (SDCT) compared with four cycles of SDCT. Ongoing RCT comparing multicycles of HDCT with SDCT for poor prognostic GCT patients will clarify the role of HDCT. Recently, new regimens of HDCT containing paclitaxel have been devised. In this review, the history, current status and future of HDCT for advanced or refractory GCT will be discussed.

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