A randomized phase III study comparing standard dose BEP with sequential high-dose cisplatin, etoposide, and ifosfamide (VIP) plus stem-cell support in males with poor-prognosis germ-cell cancer. An intergroup study of EORTC, GTCSG, and Grupo Germinal (EORTC 30974)
Background: To compare the efficacy of one cycle of standard dose cisplatin, etoposide, and ifosfamide (VIP) plus three cycles of high-dose VIP followed by stem-cell infusion [high-dose chemotherapy (HD-CT arm)] to four cycles of standard cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin (BEP) in patients with poor-prognosis germ-cell cancer (GCC). Patient and methods: Patients with poor-prognosis GCC were assigned to receive either BEP or VIP followed by HD-CT. To show a 15% improvement in a 1-year failure-free survival (FFS), the study aimed to recruit 222 patients but closed with 137, due to slow accrual. Results: One hundred thirty-one patients were included in this analysis. The complete response rates in the HD-CT and in the BEP arm did not differ: (intention to treat) 44.6% versus 33.3% (P = 0.18). There was no difference in FFS between the two treatment arms (P = 0.057, 66 events). At 2 years, the FFS rate was 44.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 32.5-56.4] and 58.2%, respectively (95% CI 48.0-71.9); but this 16.3% (standard deviation 7.5%) difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.060). Overall survival did not differ between the two groups (log-rank P > 0.1, 47 deaths). Conclusion: This study could not demonstrate that high-dose chemotherapy given as part of first-line therapy improves outcome in patients with poor-prognosis GCC.