Optimal management of patients with nonseminomatous germ cell tumour

Monday, 28 December 2009- Controversy arises regarding the optimal management of patients with nonseminomatous germ cell tumor (NSGCT) who achieve a serologic and radiographic complete remission (CR) to systemic chemotherapy.

"Some authors recommend postchemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (PC-RPLND), whereas others omit surgery and observe these patients. In an attempt to address this question, we report the long-term follow-up of patients treated at Indiana University who were observed without PC-RPLND," wrote authors Y. Ehrlich and colleagues. They published the findings of their study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with NSGCT who achieved a CR to first-line chemotherapy and were monitored without further therapy. CR was defined as normalization of serum tumor markers and resolution of radiographic disease (residual mass < 1 cm).

The results showed that a total of 141 patients were identified. Five patients (4%) had less than 2 years of follow-up. After a median follow-up of 15.5 years, 12 patients (9%) experienced relapse. Of these 12 patients, eight patients currently have no evidence of disease (NED), and four patients died of disease. The estimated 15-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) and cancer-specific survival rates were 90% and 97%, respectively.

The estimated 15-year RFS for good-risk patients (n = 109) versus intermediate- or poor-risk patients (n = 32) was 95% and 73% (P = .001), respectively. Six patients (4%) experienced recurrence in the retroperitoneum, of whom two patients died of disease. Five patients had late relapse (range, 3 to 13 years), including two patients in the retroperitoneum. All five patients currently have NED.

"Patients obtaining a CR after first-line chemotherapy can be safely observed without PC-RPLND. Relapses are rare and potentially curable with further treatment," the researchers concluded.

Source: Y. Ehrlich, M.J. Brames, et al., "Long-Term Follow-Up of Cisplatin Combination Chemotherapy in Patients With Disseminated Nonseminomatous Germ Cell Tumors: Is a Postchemotherapy Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection Needed After Complete Remission?"  Journal of Clinical Oncology, 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.0714

Edited by: JV


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