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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Dec 10;24(35):5482-92.

Controversies in the management of clinical stage I testis cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology of the Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


During the last two decades, definitive primary treatments and surveillance with definitive treatment deferred until relapse have demonstrated 98% to 99% cure rates in patients with stage I testis cancer, and these options have obtained firm positions in standard management. The development of optimal management strategies in various countries were at least partly guided by available surgical expertise in retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in the United States, and easy access to reference hospitals in densely populated countries in Western Europe that facilitated close surveillance programs; hence, treatment preferences differ on the two sides of the Atlantic. The success of both approaches is highly dependent on the skills of the practitioner, particularly of surgery and of scrutinized surveillance. As a result, local expertise and familiarity with a chosen modality has strengthened over the years, and investigators have been reluctant to embark on randomized trials designed to compare one modality with another. Such expertise with one particular technique, with the other approach being less familiar territory, has created controversy, because both physicians and patients seek evidence-based data coming from randomized clinical trials on which to make management decisions. Moreover, the reduced risk of relapse resulting from the use of radiotherapy or carboplatin in stage I seminoma and of cisplatin-based chemotherapy in stage I nonseminoma must be balanced against the potential long-term adverse effects in this population of patients with a normal life expectancy. The purpose of this review is to present the currently available data and discuss the merits and the disadvantages of the various approaches, yielding to the possible conclusion that all options appear to be equal in terms of efficacy, but that modality-associated adverse effects differ.

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