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J Thorac Oncol. 2011 Jul;6(7):1236-41. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31821d513e.

Resection of primary mediastinal non-seminomatous germ cell tumors: a 28-year experience at memorial sloan-kettering cancer center.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Thoracic Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA. sarkariI@mskcc.org



Surgical resection of residual tumor mass in responders to platinum-based chemotherapy has evolved as the preferred treatment of primary mediastinal nonseminomatous germ cell tumors (PMNGCTs). We reviewed a single institution's operative experience with these rare tumors.


We reviewed charts of patients resected for PMNGCT at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center between July 1980 and April 2008. Analyses included Kaplan-Meier survival with univariate log-rank comparisons and Cox multivariate regression.


Fifty-seven patients were identified and followed up for a median of 5.3 years. Fifty-four of them received platinum-based preoperative chemotherapy, and 28 (49%) had limited stage I/II disease. Preoperative tumor markers normalized or decreased in 79% of patients. The most common surgical approach was anterolateral thoracotomy with partial sternotomy ("hemiclamshell," 38.6%). An R0 resection was achieved in 91% of the patients with a major morbidity of 17.5% and no postoperative deaths. The median overall survival was 31.5 months. Factors correlating with better survival on univariate analyses were necrosis or teratoma versus residual cancer on final pathology (p = 0.001), R0 resection (p = 0.03), normalized or decreased postchemotherapy/preoperative tumor markers (p < 0.001), normalized postoperative tumor markers (p = 0.004), stage I/II disease (p = 0.03), and surgery after 2000 versus 1980-1999 (p = 0.01). An exploratory multivariate analysis suggests that normalized or decreased postchemotherapy/preoperative tumor markers is the strongest independent predictor of improved survival.


In a cohort of PMNGCT patients in which 91% of the patients underwent complete posttherapy resection, response to chemotherapy, measured by normalized or decreased preoperative tumor markers, was the strongest predictor of improved survival.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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