A trial looking at two weekly BEP chemotherapy for germ cell tumours in men

Cancer type:

Testicular cancer





This clinical trial looked into whether it was possible to give chemotherapy 2 weekly for germ cell cancers, instead of 3 weekly, as it is usually given.  Germ cells are the cells that produce eggs in females and sperm in males. Male germ cell cancers usually develop in the testicles, but can be found in other parts of the body.

Doctors usually treat germ cell cancers with surgery if it is only in the testicle or chemotherapy if it is somewhere else in the body. They usually give a combination of chemotherapy called BEP, every 3 weeks. This is bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin.

BEP chemotherapy can cause a drop in blood cells made by the bone marrow. This can delay treatment. In this trial patients were given G-CSF after chemotherapy. G-CSF is a growth factor. It stimulates the bone marrow to produce blood cells and in other cancers has allowed a shorter interval between each chemotherapy treatment.

This was a pilot study. The aims were to find out

  • If it was possible to give BEP chemotherapy every 2 weeks
  • More about the side effects of giving BEP every 2 weeks

Summary of results

The trial team found that BEP (bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin) could be given every 2 weeks.

This trial recruited 16 people.  Everyone was to have 4 cycles of treatment with BEP.  Of these 16

  • 12 completed all 4 cycles of treatment with BEP
  • 2 completed 4 cycles of  cisplatin and etoposide but not all 4 cycles of bleomycin
  • 2 withdrew after having 2 cycles of BEP every 2 weeks due to side effects and continued having BEP every 3 weeks

After an average follow up of just under 4 ½ years, the cancer had come back in 3 people.

The side effects were the same as having BEP every 3 weeks, apart from a drop in blood cells and sore mouth which were worse.  

The trial team concluded that giving BEP every 2 weeks should be looked at in a larger randomised trial Open a glossary item.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Michael Williams

Supported by

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 752

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Ashley was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 28

A picture of Ashley

"I now know how cancer can strike anyone whatever their situation or circumstance. I hope by taking part in a trial it will help others in my position in the future.”

Last reviewed:

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