Objectives: To retrospectively analyze the efficacy and safety results of the combination of methotrexate, dactinomycin, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine (EMACO) regimen for patients with human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)-producing germ cell tumors and who had failed multiple courses of chemotherapy.
Methods: Patients who had failed at least 2 regimens received methotrexate 100 mg/m2, followed by methotrexate 200 mg/m2 over 12 hours day 1, etoposide 100 mg/m2 and dactinomycin 0.5 mg days 1 and 2, folinic acid 25 mg orally every 6 hours days 2 and 3, alternating with cyclophosphamide 600 mg/m2 plus vincristine 1 mg/m2 day 8, every 21 days. Treatment was continued until marker normalization and for additional 2 cycles. Response rate, progression-free (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were the efficacy endpoints. Cox regression analyses examined the prognostic impact of candidate factors on PFS and OS.
Results: From February 92 to May 13, 41 patients were treated in third line (n=20, 49%) or beyond (n=21, 51%). Seventeen (41%) had received high-dose chemotherapy. Thirty-one patients (75.6%) had a response with marker reduction, including 4 complete (9.8%) and 5 (12.2%) partial responses with HCG normalization. Median PFS was 3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 2-4) and median OS was 8 months (95% CI, 6-10). Most frequent grade 3-4 toxicity was hematologic (20 patients, 48.8%). One toxic death (cerebral hemorrhage) occurred. On multivariable analysis, the line of treatment (greater than third vs. third) was the only significant predictor of both PFS (hazard ratio: 2.50, 95% CI, 1.20-5.24, P=0.015) and OS (hazard ratio: 3.17, 95% CI: 1.46-6.89, P=0.004).
Conclusions: EMACO is an attractive regimen with acceptable toxicity and could be considered an option for HCG-expressing germ cell tumors whenever multiple relapses occur.
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