Medline: 7686216

The abstract Journal of Clinical Oncology 11(7): 1300-1305, 1993. is available online.

The fulltext Journal of Clinical Oncology 11(7): 1300-1305, 1993. may be available online for subscribers.

The importance of bleomycin in combination chemotherapy for good-prognosis germ cell carcinoma.

Levi JA, Raghavan D, Harvey V, et al.


In an effort to maintain the excellent long-term results achieved with combination chemotherapy for good-prognosis germ cell carcinoma, but to reduce the toxicities encountered, a randomized trial was conducted comparing cisplatin and vinblastine with or without bleomycin.

Patients and Methods:
Two hundred eighteen assessable patients with a good prognosis were randomized to receive induction chemotherapy with cisplatin 100 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) day 1 and vinblastine 6 mg/m2 IV days 1 and 2 every 3 weeks (PV) with or without bleomycin 30 mg intramuscularly (IM) weekly (PVB) for a maximum of 12 weeks. Once maximum response was achieved, patients with a complete remission (CR) received two courses of consolidation chemotherapy, while those with residual abnormalities and normal tumor markers underwent surgical resection whenever possible.

Toxicities encountered in this study were clearly greater for those patients who received bleomycin, with significantly more leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, alopecia, and renal and pulmonary toxicities. The proportion of patients who achieved CR and had no evidence of disease (resection of all viable malignancy) was 89% for PV and 94% for PVB (P = .29). After a minimum of 4 years of follow-up, relapses have occurred in 7% of patients who received PV and 5% who received PVB. A total of five patients on each therapy arm were successfully treated with further salvage chemotherapy and surgery. Thus, deaths from progressive malignancy have occurred in 15% of patients on PV and 5% on PVB (P = .02), a rate that was partly offset by the higher proportion of toxic deaths with PVB (P = .06).

Despite the toxicities encountered with bleomycin in cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy for these patients, complete deletion of this drug compromises therapeutic efficacy.

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