Will Immunotherapy Work as Salvage Therapy for Patients with Testicular Germ Cell Tumors?

It’s now been 3.5 years since I last wrote anything about testicular germ cell tumors and ongoing clinical trials.1  Although we still cure most men afflicted with this disease, we have not made any major new therapeutic advancements since I wrote that last article.  Approximately, 15-20% of patients with metastatic germ cell tumors will relapse following initial chemotherapy.  Even in this situation, approximately 50% can still be cured with salvage treatments, either with more conventional cisplatin-based chemotherapy or with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell rescue.2-4  However, patients with cisplatin-refractory disease or progressive disease following high-dose salvage chemotherapy and autologous stem cell rescue, harbor an extremely dim prognosis.  In these situations, palliative chemotherapy, with regimens containing oxaliplatin, is limited in efficacy, and targeted biologic therapies have also shown limited efficacy.5