BACKGROUND: The oligometastatic paradigm suggests that some patients with a limited number of metastases might be cured if all lesions are eradicated. Evidence from randomised controlled trials to support this paradigm is scarce. We aimed to assess the effect of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) on survival, oncological outcomes, toxicity, and quality of life in patients with a controlled primary tumour and one to five oligometastatic lesions.
METHODS: This randomised, open-label phase 2 study was done at 10 hospitals in Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Australia. Patients aged 18 or older with a controlled primary tumour and one to five metastatic lesions, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score of 0-1, and a life expectancy of at least 6 months were eligible. After stratifying by the number of metastases (1-3 vs 4-5), we randomly assigned patients (1:2) to receive either palliative standard of care treatments alone (control group), or standard of care plus SABR to all metastatic lesions (SABR group), using a computer-generated randomisation list with permuted blocks of nine. Neither patients nor physicians were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival. We used a randomised phase 2 screening design with a two-sided a of 0·20 (wherein p<0·20 designates a positive trial). All analyses were intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01446744.
FINDINGS: 99 patients were randomised between Feb 10, 2012, and Aug 30, 2016. Of 99 patients, 33 (33%) were assigned to the control group and 66 (67%) to the SABR group. Two (3%) patients in the SABR group did not receive allocated treatment and withdrew from the trial; two (6%) patients in the control group also withdrew from the trial. Median follow-up was 25 months (IQR 19-54) in the control group versus 26 months (23-37) in the SABR group. Median overall survival was 28 months (95% CI 19-33) in the control group versus 41 months (26-not reached) in the SABR group (hazard ratio 0·57, 95% CI 0·30-1·10; p=0·090). Adverse events of grade 2 or worse occurred in three (9%) of 33 controls and 19 (29%) of 66 patients in the SABR group (p=0·026), an absolute increase of 20% (95% CI 5-34). Treatment-related deaths occurred in three (4·5%) of 66 patients after SABR, compared with none in the control group.
INTERPRETATION: SABR was associated with an improvement in overall survival, meeting the primary endpoint of this trial, but three (4·5%) of 66 patients in the SABR group had treatment-related death. Phase 3 trials are needed to conclusively show an overall survival benefit, and to determine the maximum number of metastatic lesions wherein SABR provides a benefit.
FUNDING: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and London Regional Cancer Program Catalyst Grant.
Dysphagia in people with advanced oesophageal cancer can be treated by oesophageal stents, external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and intraluminal brachytherapy. Despite guidelines recommending brachytherapy for patients with a predicted life expectancy exceeding 3 months, its uptake in the UK has been limited. Here we examine the strength of the evidence supporting the use of brachytherapy compared with oesophageal stents and EBRT and possible reasons for its limited uptake. Trials and observational studies suggest brachytherapy alone confers a benefit to patients, but its impact is less immediate than oesophageal stents; the evidence on effectiveness and value-for-money is limited. Moreover, stronger evidence will probably be insufficient to increase uptake, due to the extra complexity of delivery compared with stents and EBRT and a lack of experience among specialists.
Several immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies (CPIs) have been approved to treat metastatic urothelial cell carcinoma (mUC). Because of the favorable toxicity profile of CPI compared with chemotherapy, oncologists may have a low threshold to prescribe CPI to patients near the end of life. We evaluated trends in initiation of end-of-life systemic therapy in 1,637 individuals in the Flatiron Health Database who were diagnosed with mUC between 2015 and 2017 and who died. Rates of systemic therapy initiation in the last 30 and 60 days of life were 17.0% and 29.8%, respectively. The quarterly proportion of patients who initiated CPI within 60 days of death increased from 1.0% to 23% during the study period (p trend < .001). After CPI approval, end-of-life CPI initiation significantly increased among patients with poor performance status (p trend = .020) and did not significantly change among individuals with good performance status. The quarterly proportion of patients who initiated any systemic therapy at the end of life doubled (17.4% to 34.8%) during the study period, largely explained by increased CPI use. These findings suggest a dramatic rise in CPI use at the end of life in patients with mUC, a finding that may have important guideline and policy implications.
In May 2018, the Right to Try (RTT) Act was signed into law, and it aims to increase access to investigational drugs for people with life-threatening illnesses. Although compassion is widely viewed as the motivating logic of the RTT Act, there are also indisputable economic and political motivations. These motivations reflect the mindset that the development and delivery of cures is being impeded primarily by risk-averse scientists and regulators, when what is required is a bold commitment to save dying people, unencumbered by timid procedural hurdles. Considerable attention has been paid to how this legislation differs from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) existing Expanded Access regulations.2 However, during the bill’s progress through Congress, some of the concerns raised about the potential for unintended negative consequences of the law have been missing from the discussion. Herein, we consider one of these concerns: the Act’s potential to undermine palliative care for children with cancer.
This is a case of Ms. C, a 37-year-old woman originally from Zambia, Africa, with an unremarkable medical history prior to the unfortunate diagnosis of cervical cancer in 2014. Ms. C, was diagnosed with cervical cancer at an early stage with many treatment options available at the time of her diagnosis to potentially limit disease progression. Such therapeutic options included: conventional surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, all commonly recognized treatment approaches for medical management, utilizing ‘westernized’ medicinal theories. Based upon the ideology of the patient's family and her own personal beliefs of healing and western medical practices, she instead opted for a culturally based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) management of her cervical cancer and declined surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After 2 years of CAM management, her cervical cancer metastasized to her lungs and brain. After numerous hospitalizations for cancer-related illnesses and increasing symptom burden, she sought typical western medical interventions including chemotherapy, external beam radiation, along with a nephrostomy tube for renal failure and uterine artery embolization for chronic uterine bleeding. Within 6 months of such interventional techniques failing to improve her prognosis, the patient died under hospice home care. This case highlights the importance of elucidating how a patient understands their own medical condition and reconcile their belief system and cultural practices early in the management and treatment process. This is possible through emphasizing and practicing a thorough cross-cultural interview and is especially important when dealing with potentially life limiting pathologies like cancer, and when making key decisions such as choosing between CAM vs. western medicinal practices, or a holistic approach utilizing both. Physicians and patients must focus on removing cultural barriers to medical care.
BACKGROUND: Maintaining quality of life including physical functioning is highly prioritized among older cancer patients. Geriatric assessment is a recommended approach to identify patients with increased vulnerability to stressors (frailty). How frailty affects quality of life and physical functioning in older cancer patients has scarcely been investigated.
AIM: Focusing on physical functioning and global quality of life, we investigated whether frailty identified by a geriatric assessment was associated with higher risk of quality-of-life deterioration during cancer treatment and follow-up.
DESIGN: Prospective, observational study. Patients were classified as frail or non-frail by a modified geriatric assessment. Quality of life was measured using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality-of-Life Questionnaire at inclusion, 2, 4, 6 and 12 months.
SETTING: Eight Norwegian outpatient cancer clinics.
Patients Patients >=70 years with solid tumours referred for palliative or curative systemic medical cancer treatment.
RESULTS: Among 288 patients included, 140 (49%) were frail and 148 (51%) non-frail. Frail patients consistently reported poorer scores on all functioning and symptom scales. Independent of age, gender and major cancer-related factors, frail patients had significantly poorer physical functioning and global quality of life during follow-up, and opposed to non-frail patients they had both a clinically and statistically significant decline in physical functioning from baseline until 12 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Geriatric assessment identifies frail patients with increased risk of physical decline, poor functioning and high symptom burden during and following cancer treatment. Frail patients should therefore receive early supportive or palliative care.
ackground/Aim: Previous studies have shown anti-proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects of omega-3 fatty acids (Omegaven®) in vitro and in vivo. Whether this effect can be exploited in patients with advanced esophago-gastric adenocarcinoma is unknown. The present study intended to determine the tumour radiological response and toxicity profile of intravenous omega-3 fish oil infusion when combined with standard palliative chemotherapy, and present the effects of this treatment on plasma cytokine biomarkers.
Materials and Methods: Participants with advanced esophago-gastric adenocarcinoma were enrolled in a phase II single-arm clinical trial of palliative chemotherapy (epirubicin, oxaliplatin, and capecitabine; EOX) coupled with weekly infusion of Omegaven®. Outcomes were compared to those observed in 37 historical control patients who had received EOX alone. Toxicity was graded using the CTCAE v4.03 and radiological response was assessed using RECIST v1.1. Plasma cytokine levels of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-a, and VEGF were evaluated by ELISA.
Results: Twenty participants were included in the analysis. Radiological responses were as follows: partial response (EOX plus omega-3 group 73% vs. EOX alone 39%, p=0.03), stable disease (EOX plus omega-3 21% vs. EOX alone 39%, p=0.24), and progressive disease (EOX plus omega-3 7% vs. EOX alone 18%, p=0.34). Grade 3 or 4 toxicity was less common (thromboembolism & gastrointestinal) in those who received EOX plus omega-3. This translated into fewer hospital admissions. There were significant reductions in the concentrations of IL-2 (p=0.009), TNF-a (p<0.0001) and VEGF (p=0.002) following each treatment.
Conclusion: The treatment with supplementary omega-3 fatty acids reduced chemotherapy-related toxicity and resulted in better radiological responses. The combination treatment resulted in a shift towards a favourable anti-inflammatory cytokine profile. These findings should be evaluated in a randomised clinical trial.
Importance: Extramammary Paget disease (EMPD), a rare intraepithelial adenocarcinoma, poses a therapeutic challenge with high postoperative recurrence rates and a limited number of effective local treatment options.
Objective: To describe the use and efficacy of a topical combination of fluorouracil and calcipotriene as a palliative therapy for refractory EMPD.
Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective case series of 3 women with recurrent, refractory EMPD was conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri. All patients were treated with a 1:1 mixture of fluorouracil, 5%, cream and calcipotriene, 0.005%, cream or ointment.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Clinical and histopathological findings.
Results: All 3 women (1 in her 50s, 2 in their 70s) presented with recurrent EMPD (vulvar, perianal, and perioral) after surgery and/or irradiation, and their EMPD was refractory to treatment with imiquimod, 5%, cream. Owing to disease progression and/or intolerable adverse effects from imiquimod, the patients began treatment with a 1:1 mixture of fluorouracil, 5%, cream and calcipotriene, 0.005%, cream. This treatment, which was well tolerated, was followed by clinical improvement in symptoms and appearance of the lesions in all 3 cases and histopathological signs of decreased tumor burden in 2 cases. Patients applied the combination topical therapy to affected areas with differing frequencies, ranging from 1 to 2 days per month to 4 consecutive days every 2 weeks.
Conclusions and Relevance: Extramammary Paget disease frequently recurs even after aggressive surgical management and can be refractory to many topical and locoregional therapies. Palliative treatment with a combination of fluorouracil and calcipotriene may be a viable option for patients with recurrent, refractory EMPD.
Background: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) affects 30% to 40% of patients with cancer with long-lasting disability. Scrambler therapy (ST) appeared to benefit patients in uncontrolled trials, so we performed a randomized sham-controlled Phase II trial of ST.
Methods: The primary end point was “average pain” after 28 days on the Numeric Rating Scale. Each received ten 30-minute sessions of ST on the dermatomes above the painful areas, or sham treatment on the back, typically at L3-5 where the nerve roots would enter the spinal cord. Outcomes included the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)-CIPN and the EORTC CIPN-20 scale. Patients were evaluated before treatment (day 0), day 10, and days 28, 60, and 90.
Results: Data regarding pain as a primary outcome were collected for 33 of the 35 patients. There were no significant differences between the sham and the “real” ST group at day 10, 28, 60, or 90, for average pain, the BPI, or EORTC CIPN-20. Individual responses were noted during the ST treatment on the real arm, but most dissipated by day 30. There was improvement in the sensory subscale of the CIPN-20 at 2 months in the “real” group (P = .14). All “real” patients wanted to continue treatment if available.
Discussion: We observed no difference between sham and real ST CIPN treatment. Potential reasons include at least the following: ST does not work; the sham treatment had some effect; small sample size with heterogeneous patients; misplaced electrodes on an area of nonpainful but damaged nerves; or a combination of these factors.
Background: Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC) is a severe complication of metastatic tumor spread to the central nervous system. Prognosis is dismal with a median overall survival (OS) of ~10-15 weeks. Treatment options include radiotherapy (RT) to involved sites, systemic chemo- or targeted therapy, intrathecal chemotherapy and best supportive care with dexamethasone. Craniospinal irradiation (CSI) is a more aggressive radiotherapeutic approach, for which very limited data exists. Here, we report on our 10-year experience with palliative CSI of selected patients with LC.
Patients and methods: Twenty-five patients received CSI for the treatment of LC at our institution between 2008 and 2018. Patients were selected individually for CSI based on clinical performance, presenting symptoms and estimated benefit. Median patient age was 53 years (IQR: 45-59), and breast cancer was the most common primary. Additional brain metastases were found in 18 patients (72.0%). RT was delivered at a TomoTherapy machine, using helical intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The most commonly prescribed dose was 36 Gy in 20 fractions, corresponding to a median biologically equivalent dose of 40.8 Gy (IQR: 39.0-2.5). Clinical performance and neurologic function were assessed before and in response to therapy, and deficits were retrospectively quantified on the 5-point neurologic function scale (NFS). A Cox proportional hazards model with univariate and multivariate analyses was fitted for survival.
Results: Twenty-one patients died and four were alive at the time of analysis. Median OS from LC diagnosis was 19.3 weeks (IQR: 9.3–34.0, 95% CI: 11.0–32.0). In univariate analysis, a Karnofsky performance scale index (KPI) =70% (P=0.001), age =55 years at LC diagnosis (P=0.022), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein <100 mg/dL (P=0.018) and no more than mild or moderate neurologic deficits (NFS =2; P=0.007) were predictive of longer OS. So were the neurologic response to treatment (P=0.018) and the application of systemic therapy after RT completion (P=0.029). The presence of CSF flow obstruction was predictive of shorter OS (P=0.026). In multivariate analysis, age at LC diagnosis (P=0.018), KPI (P<0.001) and neurologic response (P=0.037) remained as independent prognostic factors for longer OS. Treatment-associated toxicity was manageable and
mostly grades I and II according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0. Eight patients (32%) developed grade III myelosuppression. Neurologic symptom stabilization could be achieved in 40.0% and a sizeable improvement in 28.0% of all patients.
Conclusion: CSI for the treatment of LC is feasible and may have therapeutic value in carefully selected patients, alleviating symptoms or delaying neurologic deterioration. OS after CSI was comparable to the rates described in current literature for patients with LC. The use of modern irradiation techniques such as helical IMRT is warranted to limit toxicity. Patient selection should take into account prognostic factors such as age, clinical performance, neurologic function and the availability of systemic treatment options.
Background: This case study examines the feasibility of application of an acceptance-based behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), to a patient with end-stage metastatic pancreatic cancer, depression, and anxiety, as a form of integrative palliative care. Case Presentation: ACT allowed the patient to identify her values of resuming her religious connection, improving relationships with family members and trusted friends, and organizing her affairs before death. As a result, the patient was able to remain engaged in cancer treatments despite side effects that she had previously deemed intolerable. She was able to move toward her values despite health-related and depression-related obstacles. Furthermore, she successfully reconnected with her religious faith, and with her parents, spent time with her family, and deepened relationships with close friends before her death. Her quality of life was much improved by a combination of ACT and cancer treatments, suggesting that ACT may be a feasible mental health adjunct for palliative care in end-stage pancreatic cancer.
Conclusion: ACT was well received by this patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer, improving ability to cope with anxiety, depression, and treatment side effects, thereby accepting and managing her cancer more effectively.
Clear cell carcinoma is the most common form of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Metastatic RCC is poorly responsive to treatment and has a bleak prognosis. Newer systemic agents have improved outcomes. Furthermore, their interaction with radiation treatment (RT) may provide further therapeutic options. RCC is considered to be radioresistant, however we report the case of a patient with progression on targeted therapy and immunotherapy who achieved a substantial and sustained local, and possibly abscopal, response to low dose palliative radiation therapy.
BACKGROUND: Cancer imposes substantial burdens on cancer suffers, their families and the health system, especially in the end of life (EOL) of care patients. There are few developing country studies of EOL health care costs and no specialist studies of the disparities in cancer treatment and care costs by geographical location in China. We sought to examine geographical disparities in the types of cancer treatments and care costs during the last 3 months of life for Chinese cancer patients.
METHODS: Using snowball sampling and face-to-face interviews, field research was conducted with a specialist questionnaire. Data were collected on 792 cancer patients who died between July 2013 and June 2016 in China. Total EOL health care costs were modeled using generalized linear models (GLMs) with log link and gamma distribution.
RESULTS: Total health care costs were highest for urban (US$12,501) and western region (US$9808) patients and lowest for rural (US$5996) and central region (US$5814) patients. Our study revealed about 40% of the health care expenses occur in the last three months of life, and was mainly driven by hospital costs that accounted for about 70% of EOL expenditures. Patients faced out-of-pocket expenses for health care, with the ability to borrow from family and friends also impacting the type of treatment and health facility. Life-extending treatments per cancer patient was about two times that of patients receiving conservative treatments.Urban patients were more likely to receive life-extending treatments, financed by higher incomes and a greater capacity to borrow from family and friends to bridge the gap between health insurance reimbursements and out-of-pocket expenditures. Cancer patients in western region and urban area were significantly more likely to access hospice care.
CONCLUSIONS: We found significant urban-rural and regional disparities in EOL types of cancer treatment, utilization of medical care and the health care expenditures. The EOL cancer care costs imposed heavy economic burdens in China.We recommend better clinical guidelines, improved EOL conversations and fuller information on treatment regimes among patients, family caregivers and doctors. Policies and information should pay more attention to palliative care options and the socio-cultural context of cancer care decision-making by family.
BACKGROUND/AIM: Compared to intravenous taxane chemotherapy, newer orally-available and/or less toxic agents for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (MCRPC) may be associated with higher likelihood of starting treatment in patients with adverse prognostic features and limited life expectancy. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the rates of treatment initiation during the last 30 days of life in a real-world cohort of men with MCRPC.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of 146 patients.
RESULTS: Seven patients (5%) who started any systemic treatment during the last 30 days of life were identified. The likelihood of treatment initiation in the last 30 days of life correlated significantly with the number of lines of systemic treatment (higher risk for previously treated patients) and non-use of bone-targeted agents.
CONCLUSION: Initiation of systemic therapy in the last 30 days of life was uncommon. This endpoint might complement other quality-of-care indicators.
PURPOSE: Here, we present the results from a retrospective analysis, with the purpose of evaluating the safety and feasibility of nivolumab and radiotherapy (RT) concomitant association in metastatic kidney and lung cancer patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: From August 2015 until September 2017, we retrospectively observed 20 patients with metastatic lung and renal cell carcinoma who had been initiated therapy with nivolumab and underwent concomitant RT. RT was administered either as an ablative therapy in the oligometastatic/oligoprogressive setting or as palliative-only treatment for symptomatic patients. Data on progression-free and overall survival (PFS and OS), treatment response and adverse events were collected and reported. Comparison between palliative-only and ablative treatments was performed.
RESULTS: PFS and OS were 7 and 12.5 months in the entire population, respectively. Oligoprogressive patients treated with ablative intent, compared to patients undergoing RT with palliative-only intent, had statistically longer PFS (11.5 vs 5.2 months, HR 0.42, CI 0.18-0.98, p 0.03) and OS (17.9 vs 10.31 months, HR 0.41 CI 0.16-1.02, p 0.04). Considering only patients treated with ablative intent, 87.5% showed response to treatment, and complete response was reported in 37.5% of cases. Adverse G2-G3 related to combination treatment were reported as follows: 1 gastrointestinal (nausea), 4 breakthrough pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed significant advantage for oligoprogressive patients treated with RT during nivolumab therapy. No safety alert emerged. These results underline the potential synergistic effects of RT and Immune therapy combination. Our analysis prompts further prospective studies exploring the benefit of integrated treatment strategies.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Self-expandable metal stents (SEMSs) are used to relieve malignant biliary obstructions. We aimed to compare stent patency, the adverse events rate, and overall survival of covered versus uncovered self-conformable metal stents in patients with primary malignant extrahepatic biliary strictures, not eligible for surgery.
METHODS: This is a multicenter randomized trial analyzing 158 patients with inoperable distal malignant biliary obstruction conducted in 5 Italian referral centers between December 2014 and October 2016. Seventy-eight patients were randomized to receive a fully covered SEMS (FCSEMS), and 80 patients received uncovered SEMSs (USEMSs). Data from 148 (72 FCSEMSs and 76 USEMSs) of 158 patients were analyzed.
RESULTS: Median time of stent patency was lower for FCSEMSs (240 days vs 541 days for USEMSs; P = .031). Adverse events occurred with 19 FCSEMSs (26.4%) and 10 USEMSs (13.2%); P = .061. The main causes of FCSEMS dysfunction were migration (7% vs 0% in the USEMS group) and early occlusion mainly because of sludge or overgrowth; late stent occlusion because of tumor ingrowth occurred in 13.2% of patients in the USEMS group. There were no significant differences either in levels of conjugated bilirubin improvement or in overall survival between the FCSEMS and USEMS groups. Median survival was 134 days in the FCSEMS group and 112 days in the USEMS group (P = .23).
CONCLUSION: The number of stent-related adverse events was higher, although not significantly, among patients in the FCSEMS group. FCSEMSs had a significantly higher rate of migration than USEMSs, and stent occlusion occurred earlier. A significant difference in the patency rate was observed in favor of the USEMS group. (Clinical trial registration number: NCT02102984.).
Despite advances in the management of peritoneal carcinomatosis, morbidity remains high with survival often measured in weeks to months. Patients are often subjected to symptoms and complications that impact quality of life. Much of the management revolves around palliation of symptoms and providing support and resources to address emotional and existential concerns. This article reviews surgical and nonsurgical palliative treatments for the symptoms and complications associated with advanced, incurable peritoneal carcinomatosis. It is important that providers caring for patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis be knowledgeable in the palliative management of this condition, including the usefulness of early palliative care referral.
PURPOSE: To revise the recommendation on the use of concurrent chemotherapy (CC) with palliative thoracic external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) made in the original 2011 American Society for Radiation Oncology guideline on palliative thoracic radiation for lung cancer.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Based on a systematic PubMed search showing new evidence for this key question, the task force felt an update was merited. Guideline recommendations were created using a predefined consensus-building methodology supported by American Society for Radiation Oncology-approved tools for grading evidence quality and recommendation strength.
RESULTS: Although few randomized clinical trials address the question of CC combined with palliative thoracic EBRT for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a strong consensus was reached among the task force on recommendations for incurable stage III and IV NSCLC. For patients with stage III NSCLC deemed unsuitable for curative therapy but who are (1) candidates for chemotherapy, (2) have an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group PS of 0 to 2, and (3) have a life expectancy of at least 3 months, administration of a platinum-containing chemotherapy doublet concurrently with moderately hypofractionated palliative thoracic radiation therapy is recommended over treatment with either modality alone. For patients with stage IV NSCLC, routine use of concurrent thoracic chemoradiation is not recommended.
CONCLUSIONS: Optimal palliation of patients with incurable NSCLC requires coordinated interdisciplinary care. Recent data establish a rationale for CC with palliative thoracic EBRT for a well-defined subset of patients with incurable stage III NSCLC. For all other patients with incurable NSCLC, data remain insufficient to support this treatment approach.
Most patients with metastatic germ-cell cancer (GCC) can be cured by cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy. Yet, about 10-15% of metastatic GCC patients will eventually die of their disease. This narrative review focuses on treatment options when cure is no longer realistic.
A 62-year-old female patient diagnosed with oesophageal adenocarcinoma underwent radical treatment consisting of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and oesophagectomy with no major complications. Eleven months later, she re-presented with a mass at one of the chest drain sites. A PET-CT scan and biopsy demonstrated this to be a single recurrence of the oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Excision of the metastatic lesion was considered as per metachronous single site metastasis. However, the operation was postponed due to acute kidney injury. Restaging after 6 weeks revealed progressive metastatic disease. The patient underwent palliative therapy and passed away soon after. Oesophageal cancer recurrence has a very poor prognosis, and factors such as the disease-free interval, site of recurrence and tumour pathological factors must be considered when stratifying for suitability for metastasectomy. A period of watchful waiting followed by restaging is essential to rule out patients with indolent metastatic disease.