The management of advanced germ cell tumors in 2016: The memorial Sloan Kettering approach
Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
Gene Expression Profiling
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
The high cure rate of patients with advanced germ cell tumors is the result of effective cisplatin-based chemotherapy; both previously untreated and relapsing patients can be cured. Risk stratification is particularly important in previously untreated patients. While retrospective salvage therapy analyses suggest that a number of clinical factors are associated with outcome, the appropriate selection of patients for, and the sequencing of, conventional- and high-dose regimens are subjects of debate because of the introduction of paclitaxel and different approaches to the administration of high-dose chemotherapy. This therapeutic landscape has been molded in part by our current understanding of treatment-associated toxicity. In this paper, we review the use of serum tumor markers in risk assignment and response evaluation; the treatment of previously untreated and relapsing patients; the role of surgical resection of residual disease, including retroperitoneal node dissection; and the importance of clinical trials for addressing unanswered questions and testing new therapies. Management controversies and possible future treatment enhancements that incorporate serum tumor marker decline and tumor genomics will also be discussed.