‘Burned-out’ primary testicular cancer

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To report the natural history of ‘burned-out’ testicular tumour (a testicular tumour that has regressed spontaneously with no treatment and that generally presents at the stage of metastases).

PATIENTS AND METHODS

We report five cases of burned-out testicular tumours to illustrate the clinical, radiological and histopathological features, and discuss the hypothesis of natural history of these neoplasms.

RESULTS

The findings in the five patients tended to indicate that metastatic progression appears to induce spontaneous regression of the previous tumour site. Patients explored for extragonadal germ cell tumour present with various clinical features depending on the site of the metastases.

CONCLUSION

Despite the controversial hypotheses of the origin of these tumours, extragonadal germ cell tumours should be considered to be metastases of a ‘burned-out’ primary testicular tumour that must be investigated. When a primary testicular tumour is detected, the testis must be removed, and standard chemotherapy yields good long-term results. The hypothesis of an immunological reaction against the tumour inducing the spontaneous necrosis of the primary tumour and possibly the metastases should be considered. Immunological screening should be proposed in patients to investigate this interesting model of spontaneous tumour regression.

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