Treatment with the chemotherapy agents paclitaxel and Gemzar® (gemcitabine) provides long-term survival and possible cure among some patients with testicular cancer that has stopped responding to prior therapies. These results were recently presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in the United States among males between the ages of 15 to 35. There are two main types of testicular cancer: seminomas and non-seminomas. Both types of testicular cancer originate in germ cells, the cells within the testicles responsible for the formation of sperm. Fortunately, testicular cancer is a highly curable disease overall. However, some testicular cancers are very advanced and stop responding to standard therapies (refractory); cure rates for refractory testicular cancer remain low with standard therapies.
Researchers from Indiana University recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment with paclitaxel and Gemzar for patients with refractory testicular cancers. The trial included 32 patients, all of whom had received prior treatment with high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation and experienced a progression of cancer.
- Paclitaxel and Gemzar provided effective treatment for some patients; shrinkage of cancer was experienced in 31%.
- 12.5% of patients remain free of cancer at follow-up times ranging from 5 to 9 years following treatment, none of whom received any subsequent therapy following paclitaxel/Gemzar.
The authors of the study stated that “Paclitaxel and gemcitabine salvage
chemotherapy can offer long-term survival and probable cure in relapsed/refractory [testicular cancer] following [high-dose chemotherapy].”
Reference: Mulherin B, Brames M, Einhorn L, et al. Long-term survival with paclitaxel and gemcitabine for germ cell tumors after progression following high-dose chemotherapy with tandem transplants. Paper presented at: 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; June 3-7, 2011; Chicago, IL. Abstract 4562.
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