Good-risk-advanced germ cell tumors: Historical perspective and current standards of care
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
Outcomes for patients with metastatic germ cell tumors have improved dramatically over the last 30 years with today's cure rates approaching 80%. A critical contribution to the treatment of metastatic disease was the development of the universally accepted international germ cell cancer collaborative group (IGCCCG) outcome prediction model. With this system, patients are classified into good, intermediate, and poor-risk groups, each with a significantly different likelihood of cure. Not only are outcomes more favorable in the good-risk group, the intensity of treatment required to achieve these outcomes is also less. Therefore, the physician's goal in treating good-risk patients is to minimize the short- and long-term therapy-related toxicities, while maintaining the excellent cure rates. Through well-conducted clinical trials, four cycles of etoposide + cisplatin (EPx4) and three cycles of bleomycin + etoposide + cisplatin (BEPx3) have emerged as the two optimal treatment regimens for good-risk patients. Cure rates with either regimen with or without surgery approximate to 90%. Attempts to further diminish the toxicity of either regimen have been unsuccessful due to the resulting reductions in efficacy. The authors discuss the trials which led to the establishment of EPx4 and BEPx3 as today's treatment standards as well as the development of the IGCCCG prognostic model.