The study was designed to determine prospectively the prevalence of fasting serum lipid abnormalities in patients who were treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy for germ cell tumors. We unexpectedly had demonstrated hypercholesterolemia in 20 of 30 nonfasting patients in a prior study of long-term toxicity of chemotherapy for germ cell tumors. The present study was designed to explore this phenomenon further.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Seventeen unselected patients with biopsy-proven germ cell tumors, who underwent cisplatin-based chemotherapy and who had no prior history of cardiac disease nor known hypercholesterolemia, were studied. In addition to the standard staging tests, blood was drawn for a pretreatment fasting lipid screen, which included cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and apolipoproteins A1, B, and (a). Repeat samples were drawn 24 hours after the administration of cisplatin and at intervals of 6 to 24 months after the completion of treatment.
Seven of 17 patients (41%) had higher than desirable levels of total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Two of them had normal levels before treatment, four had preexisting hypercholesterolemia that increased further, and one patient had an elevated pretreatment level that did not alter. Absolute increases in serum cholesterol were noted in 14 of 17 patients. No consistent patterns of change beyond the reference ranges were found for other serum lipids.
We have confirmed our initial observation that serum cholesterol increases in patients who received cisplatin-containing chemotherapy regimens for germ cell tumors. Further studies will be necessary to define whether other lipid abnormalities occur and the biologic significance of these findings.
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