JOURNAL ARTICLE

Early predicted time to normalization of tumor markers predicts outcome in poor-prognosis nonseminomatous germ cell tumors

Karim Fizazi, Stéphane Culine, Andrew Kramar, Robert J Amato, Jeannine Bouzy, Isan Chen, Jean-Pierre Droz, Christopher J Logothetis
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2004 October 1, 22 (19): 3868-76
15302906

PURPOSE: The prognostic relevance of the rate of decline of serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) during the first 3 weeks of chemotherapy for nonseminomatous germ cell tumors (NSGCT) was studied in the context of the International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group (IGCCCG) classification.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data from 653 patients prospectively recruited in clinical trials were studied. Tumor markers were obtained before chemotherapy and 3 weeks later. Decline rates were calculated using a logarithmic formula and expressed as a predicted time to normalization (TTN). A favorable TTN was defined when both AFP and HCG had a favorable decline rate, including cases with normal values.

RESULTS: The median follow-up was 50 months (range, 2 to 151 months). Tumor decline rate expressed as a predicted TTN was associated with both progression-free survival (PFS; P <.0001) and overall survival (OS; P <.0001). The 4-year PFS rates were 64% and 38% in patients from the poor-prognosis group who had a favorable and an unfavorable TTN, respectively. The 4-year OS rates were 83% and 58%, respectively. This effect was independent from the initial tumor marker values, the primary tumor site, and the presence of nonpulmonary visceral metastases: tumor marker decline rate remained a strong predictor for both PFS (hazard ratio = 2.5; P =.01) and OS (hazard ratio = 4.6; P =.002) in patients from the IGCCCG poor-prognosis group in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSION: Early predicted time to tumor marker normalization is an independent prognostic factor in patients with poor-prognosis NSGCT and may be a useful tool in the therapeutic management of these patients.

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