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Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment of Recurrent Malignant GCTs in Children


In a Children's Oncology Group Trial (AGCT0521), patients who relapsed after PEB therapy received two cycles of paclitaxel, ifosfamide, and carboplatin. Study results are pending.

Chemotherapy followed by surgery and possibly radiation therapy

Most children with benign sacrococcygeal tumors experience recurrence with a malignant component at the primary tumor site. For these children, complete surgical resection of the recurrent tumor and coccyx (if not done originally) is the basis of salvage treatment; preoperative chemotherapy with PEB may assist the surgical resection. In patients who had a malignant sacrococcygeal tumor that recurred after PEB treatment, surgery and additional chemotherapy may be warranted; when a complete salvage resection is not achieved, postoperative local radiation therapy may be an option.[3]

HD chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell rescue

The role of HD chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell rescue for recurrent pediatric GCTs is not established, despite anecdotal reports. (Refer to the Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation section of the PDQ summary on Childhood Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for more information about transplantation.) In one European series, 10 of 23 children with relapsed extragonadal GCTs achieved long-term disease-free survival (median follow-up, 66 months) after receiving HD chemotherapy with stem cell support.[15] Further study in children and adolescents is needed.

HD chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue has been explored as a treatment for adults with recurrent testicular GCTs. HD chemotherapy plus hematopoietic stem cell rescue has been reported to cure adult patients with relapsed testicular GCTs, even as third-line therapy and in cisplatin-refractory patients.[16] While several other studies support this approach,[17,18,10,19,20] others do not.[21,22] Salvage attempts using HD-chemotherapy regimens may be of little benefit if the patient is not clinically disease free at the time of HSCT.[16,23]

Radiation therapy followed by surgery (for brain metastases)

Patients with nongerminomatous brain metastases may respond to radiation therapy. In the German Maligne Keimzelltümoren (MAKEI) studies, radiation therapy and surgery for patients with brain metastases provided palliation and occasional long-term survival.[24,25][Level of evidence: 3iiiA]

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation for Recurrent Malignant GCTs in Children

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