"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.”
A trial looking at treatment for men whose germ cell cancer has relapsed (GAMIO)
This trial looked at chemotherapy for men with germ cell cancer that had come back after treatment (relapsed).
Germ cells are the cells that produce sperm in males. Male germ cell cancers usually develop in the testicles, but can be found in other parts of the body.
We know from research that a combination of the following drugs can work for most men with relapsed germ cell cancer
But this chemotherapy combination does not work as well for men over the age of 35 or who have high levels of a body chemical, called LDH, when their germ cell cancer comes back. LDH is a tumour marker for testicular cancer that helps doctors to see if the disease has come back.
The aims of this trial were to see
- If the combination of G-CSF, dactinomycin, methotrexate, irinotecan and oxaliplatin worked for men whose germ cell cancer had come back and who were over 35 with high levels of LDH
- How safe this chemotherapy combination was for this group of men and what the side effects were
Summary of results
The trial team found that the combination of G-CSF, dactinomycin, methotrexate, irinotecan and oxaliplatin didn’t work for men whose germ cell cancer had relapsed.
This was a phase 2 trial. The researchers had planned to recruit 47 men but they only recruited 5. Everyone had G-CSF, dactinomycin, methotrexate, irinotecan and oxaliplatin.
Overall, the average length of time the men lived was just under 2 months.
The side effects included
- A drop in blood cells
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sore mouth
The worst of these was diarrhoea caused by irinotecan. The researchers reduced the dose of irinotecan to see if this helped, but it didn’t. The group that manages the day to day running of the trial (Trial Management Group) decided to stop the trial.
The trial team concluded that because of the side effects, they couldn’t use the combination of dactomycin, methotrexate, irinotecan and oxaliplatin.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Jonathan Shamash
Barts Health NHS Trust
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
Orchid Cancer Appeal