Malignant germ cell tumor treatments examined

By Kristen Holland Shear / April 21-30, 2011

Two dozen scientists and clinicians from around the world gathered at UT Southwestern in early March to discuss potential ways to improve the care of children who have malignant germ cell tumors.

These tumors usually occur in the testis or ovary. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males ages 15 to 40.

Dr. James Amatruda

Dr. James Amatruda, assistant professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and molecular biology, said although it’s possible to cure most children with germ cell tumors, physicians are becoming increasingly concerned about the long-term side effects of treatment.

“We urgently are seeking new and improved treatments that are more effective and less toxic than our existing chemotherapy drugs,” he said. “We hope to discover these treatments by better understanding the biology of the tumors. This effort goes beyond what one lab or clinic can accomplish, though, and will require international collaboration.”

Participants included oncologists, pathologists and experts in germ cell biology from UT Southwestern; Duke University; Yale University; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; the University of Minnesota; the University of Cincinnati; the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Children’s Oncology Group in California; Children’s Hospital Boston; the University of Cambridge, Newcastle University and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, all in the United Kingdom; Universitätsklinikum in Bonn, Germany; and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Dr. Amatruda and Dr. Lindsay Frazier, associate professor of pediatrics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, served as co-organizers.

The William G. Forbeck Foundation, Children’s Cancer Fund and UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center supported the three-day event.