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Sequential detection of alphafetoprotein-bearing cells in blood stem cell fraction of germ cell tumour patients

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1054/bjoc.2001.2050
  • Regular Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


High-dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation in advanced germ cell tumour (GCT) patients is widely applied. The aims of this study were: (1) To examine the presence of alphafetoprotein (AFP) bearing tumour cells in PBSC harvests from advanced GCT patients obtained after multiple cycles of induction chemotherapy. (2) To determine whether induction chemotherapy contributed to in vivo purging of the tumour. We evaluated cryopreserved PBSC samples from 5 patients with advanced stage II/III AFP producing GCT. PBSC were separated after the first, second and third cycles of induction chemotherapy. Those samples were analysed using the nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method to detect AFP mRNA. Although, in all patients, AFP mRNA was detected in PBSC samples after the first or second cycle of induction chemotherapy, but was not detected in 3 of 4 samples after the third cycle of chemotherapy. Although it is not clear whether tumour cells contaminating PBSC fraction contribute to disease relapse, PBSC harvested after at least 3 cycles of induction chemotherapy might be recommended to avoid such a possibility. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign

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