Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 03/07/2014

Stage II Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors

Dysgerminomas
Other Germ Cell Tumors
Current Clinical Trials



Dysgerminomas

Standard treatment options:

  1. Total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with adjuvant radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  2. Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with adjuvant chemotherapy.

For patients with stage II dysgerminoma, total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy are usually performed. For the younger patient who wants to preserve fertility, a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy may be considered standard therapy, depending on the age of the patient, and adjuvant chemotherapy should be given. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Sexuality and Reproductive Issues for more information on fertility.)

These patients should receive adjuvant treatment. Options include radiation therapy or chemotherapy. A disadvantage of the former is loss of fertility resulting from ovarian failure. Experience with adjuvant chemotherapy is limited, but considering the effectiveness of chemotherapy in tumors other than dysgerminoma and its effectiveness in advanced-stage dysgerminoma, adjuvant chemotherapy is likely to be effective and to allow recovery of reproductive potential in patients with an intact ovary, fallopian tube, and uterus. Thus, adjuvant chemotherapy with the combination of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) has replaced radiation therapy except in the rare patient in whom chemotherapy is not considered appropriate.

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Patients with stage II germ cell tumors of the ovary are candidates for clinical trials.[1]
Other Germ Cell Tumors

Standard treatment options:

  1. Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with adjuvant chemotherapy.
  2. Second-look laparotomy.

For patients with stage II germ cell tumors other than pure dysgerminoma, unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy should be performed when fertility is to be preserved. Although there is considerable experience with the combination of vincristine, dactinomycin, and cyclophosphamide (VAC), especially when given in an adjuvant setting, BEP is more effective.[2-4] Patients who do not respond to a cisplatin-based combination may still attain a durable remission with VAC as salvage therapy.[1] Recurrence after three courses of BEP as adjuvant therapy is rare.[1] All patients who do not respond to standard therapy are candidates for clinical trials. When there is residual disease or elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein or human chorionic gonadotropin after maximal surgical debulking, three or four courses of BEP combination chemotherapy are indicated.[5]

Evidence suggests that second-look laparotomy is not beneficial in patients with initially completely resected tumors who receive cisplatin-based adjuvant treatment.[6] Second-look surgery may be of benefit for a minority of patients whose tumor was not completely resected at the initial surgical procedure and who had teratomatous elements in their primary tumor.[6,7] Surgical resection of residual masses detected by clinical examination, by radiographic procedures, or at re-exploration should be undertaken since reversion to germ cell tumor has been described.

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Patients with stage II germ cell tumors of the ovary are candidates for clinical trials.[1]
Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage II ovarian germ cell tumor. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References
  1. Williams SD, Blessing JA, Moore DH, et al.: Cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin in advanced and recurrent ovarian germ-cell tumors. A trial of the Gynecologic Oncology Group. Ann Intern Med 111 (1): 22-7, 1989.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  2. Williams S, Blessing JA, Liao SY, et al.: Adjuvant therapy of ovarian germ cell tumors with cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin: a trial of the Gynecologic Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 12 (4): 701-6, 1994.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Pinkerton CR, Pritchard J, Spitz L: High complete response rate in children with advanced germ cell tumors using cisplatin-containing combination chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol 4 (2): 194-9, 1986.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Gershenson DM, Morris M, Cangir A, et al.: Treatment of malignant germ cell tumors of the ovary with bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin. J Clin Oncol 8 (4): 715-20, 1990.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Williams SD, Birch R, Einhorn LH, et al.: Treatment of disseminated germ-cell tumors with cisplatin, bleomycin, and either vinblastine or etoposide. N Engl J Med 316 (23): 1435-40, 1987.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  6. Williams SD, Blessing JA, DiSaia PJ, et al.: Second-look laparotomy in ovarian germ cell tumors: the gynecologic oncology group experience. Gynecol Oncol 52 (3): 287-91, 1994.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  7. Gershenson DM: The obsolescence of second-look laparotomy in the management of malignant ovarian germ cell tumors. Gynecol Oncol 52 (3): 283-5, 1994.  [PUBMED Abstract]