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The long-term outcome results of a prospective surveillance trial for clinical stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testis (NSGCT) are reported in an effort to define the natural history of clinical stage I testis cancer treated with orchiectomy alone, and to determine if a subset of patients exists that may be suitable for surveillance.

Materials and Methods

Between September 1979 and December 1987, 105 patients were entered into the study. Patients with persistent elevation of serum tumor markers (AFP, BHCG, and LDH) following orchiectomy, stage T2-T4 primary tumors, any evidence of metastases and pure choriocarcinoma or pure seminoma on histology were excluded from study. Enrolled patients underwent periodic physical examination, serological testing and radiological imaging according to an established protocol.


Median followup was 11.3 years. Of the patients 78 (74.3%) have remained disease-free and 27 (25.7%) have experienced relapse. Of the patients with relapse 24 are currently disease-free after treatment for relapse for a median duration of 10.8 years and 3 (2.8%) died of disease. All relapses occurred within 24 months of orchiectomy (median 5 months). Significant predictors of relapse during surveillance were a predominant embryonal carcinoma histology (p = 0.016) and vascular invasion (p = 0.0005). In patients with neither embryonal carcinoma nor vascular invasion the relapse rate was 12%, and no patients died of disease.


With extended followup 74% of men with clinical stage I (T1) nonseminomatous germ cell tumor of the testis were cured by orchiectomy alone, and cure rates approached 90% when patients with predominant embryonal carcinoma histology or vascular invasion were excluded from surveillance. These findings support management by surveillance alone in a highly select cohort of men who have clinical stage I (T1) nonseminomatous germ cell tumor of the testis, normal serum markers following orchiectomy and neither predominant embryonal carcinoma or vascular invasion on histology.

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