Combination Chemotherapy with Cyclophosphamide, Vincristine, and Dacarbazine in Patients with Malignant Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
Choosing effective therapy for patients with malignant pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma (PPGL) is problematic and none of the options are curative. Although combination chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and dacarbazine (CVD) is an established treatment option, only a limited number of case series have been reported in the literature. To determine the efficacy of CVD in patients treated at Tokyo Women's Medical University. Retrospective review of patients treated with CVD between 1989 and 2012 was conducted. Demographics, clinical presentation, imaging, and laboratory reports were reviewed and analyzed. Efficacy of CVD was ascertained from the biochemical and tumor responses. Twenty-three patients fulfilled study criteria and 6 of these were excluded due to inadequate follow-up or discontinuance by poor general condition or adverse effects. Thus, 17 cases were included in the study. The age and duration of the disease before initiation of CVD were 54.7 ± 12.0 years and 9.1 ± 8.1 years, respectively. The follow-up period after initiation of CVD ranged from 12 to 192 months (median, 60 months). Complete or partial biochemical and/or partial tumor response was achieved in 47.1 % (responders). No significant biochemical or tumor response was seen in 23.5 % and deterioration in biochemical and tumor outcomes was seen in 29.4 % (non-responders). No patient showed complete biochemical and tumor responses. In responders, these effects were documented within 4 months after initiation of CVD with a progression-free survival of 31 to 60 months (median, 40 months). Age at the first diagnosis with PPGL was younger (P < 0.05) and the lag time to eventual diagnosis of malignant disease was longer (P < 0.05) in responders than those in non-responders. The responders had improvements in hypertension and impaired glucose tolerance. Although CVD chemotherapy is not curative for patients with malignant PPGL, it does provide approximately half of the patients with biochemical, tumor, and hypertension benefits.
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