Investigating the potential of Brentuximab Vedotin for testicular germ cell tumour treatment

Testicular germ cell tumours are the main malignant disease occurring to the testis of men and they are the most common tumours in young men. With the development of chemotherapy, most testicular germ cell tumours have been successfully cured, even when diagnosed at an advanced and metastatic stage. However, a proportion of advanced disease cannot be cured. Patients whose tumours are resistance to primary therapy have a cure rate of somewhere between 25-50%. Thus there is an unmet need for a treatment for this small population of often young patients (median age 35-40) who are candidates for experimental approaches.


This study led by Dr Yong Jie Lu investigates new therapeutic options for this group of patients with the aim of significantly improving patient outcome. It is well known that cancer is a genetic disease and many genes are abnormally switched on or off, leading to the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. CD30 is one of those genes that are switched on predominately in some types of blood cancers and an aggressive type of testicular germ cell tumours.



Dr Yong-Jie and his team

In recent years, many gene targeting therapies have been developed with demonstrated efficacy and low toxicity. Brentuximab Vedotin is a drug that only targets CD30 positive cancer cells to kill them. It has shown excellent therapeutic effect in treating two types of blood related tumours and consequentially has been approved by the medical authority for clinical use to treat patient. However the efficacy to Brentuximab Vedotin in treating the CD30 positive testicular germ cell tumours had not been investigated. The company who own the drug offered the drug to researchers to evaluate its efficacy in testing testicular germ cell tumours. The researchers are testing the efficacy of Brentiuximab Vedotin in killing CD30 positive testicular germ cell tumours cultured in the lab as well as optimising the best approach to combine Brentuximab Vedotin with chemotherapy drugs to kill testicular germ cell tumours more efficiently. Following the study in the lab, Brentuximab Vedotin will be tested in a clinical trait to confirm its efficacy in testing advanced testicular germ cell tumours and save the life of affected young men.

The key objective of the research are:img_5296

  • To determine the prevalence of CD30 expression in testicular germ cell tumours including che
    mo resistant cases.
  • To determine the efficiency of brentuximab vedotin to kill testicular germ cell tumour ce lls and check if the killing effect is associated with CD30 levels in the cells.
  • To establish the best combination treatment of brentuximab vedotin with chemotherapies currently in clinical use.


So far researchers have:

  • Determined CD30 level in a range of testicular germ cell tumour cell line to be used to investigate the response and potential mechanisms of brentuximab vedotin treatment.
  • Determined the efficiency of brentuximab vedotin to kill testicular germ cell tumour cells and its correlation with CD30 levels.
  • Determined the concentration of several chemotherapy drugs to be used in combination with Brentuximab Vedotin.



In the short term, this research could led to a clinical trial to assess the efficiency of Brentuximab Vedotin in testicular germ cell tumour patients resistant to current chemotherapies. In the long term Brentuximab Vedotin could be approved to treat testicular germ cell tumours in the clinic and save patients lives whilst exposing them to low toxicity.





Last Reviewed 4/6/2018. Next review December 2018

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