High-Dose Chemotherapy plus Stem Cell Transplantation in Advanced Germ Cell Cancer: A Review

Roisin Connolly, John A. McCaffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Context: High-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with stem cell transplantation (SCT) has been investigated as a treatment strategy for advanced germ cell cancer (GCC) for >2 decades. In an effort to improve on the overall cure rates of 80% achievable with conventional chemotherapy, researchers have investigated this therapeutic option as a first-line therapy for those with poor-prognosis disease and as a salvage therapy for those with relapsed or refractory disease. Objective: The primary objective of this review is to define the role of HDCT plus SCT in advanced GCC. Prognostic indicators for this group of patients are also presented. Evidence acquisition: A Medline search of English-language literature was performed to identify studies published in the last 20 yr relating to the use of HDCT plus SCT in advanced GCC. Phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 trials were included, as were retrospective reviews and meta-analyses. Evidence synthesis: Phase 2 trials investigating HDCT plus SCT as a therapeutic option for advanced germ cell cancer have indicated a survival advantage over conventional chemotherapy. This has not been confirmed in the phase 3 setting. Alternative chemotherapeutic strategies and options following failure of HDCT plus SCT are discussed. Conclusions: Studies to date have not indicated a survival advantage for the use of HDCT plus SCT in advanced germ cell cancer. Many questions, however, remain unanswered, and further research is required to identify whether optimising the strategy of HDCT plus SCT will improve outcome in this predominantly young group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Germ cell cancer
  • High-dose chemotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Testicular cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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