Background: Based on the high chemosensitivity of germ-cell tumors (GCTs), the concept of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) has been developed worldwide and investigated through many clinical trials. It has been carried out in different clinical settings, ranging from resistant or absolute refractory disease to chemosensitive relapse. HDCT with stem-cell support has been also explored as a part of first-line strategy for poor-prognosis patients. Patients and methods: Our review summarized results from clinical trials evaluating the role of HDCT in patients with advanced GCTs. So far available data were obtained through a Medline search of English-language literature. Results: Several phase II trials and retrospective series have shown a possible benefit for GCT patients with recurrent disease as well as in first-line setting. Despite these results, data derived from randomized phase III studies failed to demonstrate any survival advantage for HDCT over conventional chemotherapy. Conclusions: The role of HDCT in GCTs remains controversial. We need new prospective studies based on prognostic factors with multiple transplants of carboplatin and etoposide as the preferred high dose regimen. At present, based mainly on retrospective and phase II studies, HDCT may represent a therapeutic option for patients with primary refractory disease or for those with a second or further relapse.
- Autologous stem-cell transplantation
- Germ-cell tumors
- High-dose chemotherapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas