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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1995 Nov 1;33(4):831-5.

Secondary malignancy among seminoma patients treated with adjuvant radiation therapy.

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  • 1Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO 63110, USA.



Early-stage testicular seminoma is among the most radiosensitive tumors, with an overall cure rate of over 90%. Among those cured of the disease by orchiectomy and postoperative irradiation, there is a risk of having a second malignancy. We conducted a study to determine the relative risk of the occurrence of secondary malignancy.


From 1964 through 1988, 128 patients with histologically confirmed early-stage seminoma of the testis underwent orchiectomy and postoperative irradiation at the Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, and affiliate hospitals. The follow-up periods ranged from 5 to 29 years, with a median of 11.7 years. The expected rate of developing a second cancer was computed by the standardized incidence ratio using the Connecticut Tumor Registry Database. The rate is based on the number of person-years at risk, taking into account age, gender, and race.


Nine second nontesticular malignancies were found; the time of appearance in years is indicated in brackets: two squamous cell carcinomas of the lung [3, 11], one adenocarcinoma of the rectum [15], one chronic lymphocytic leukemia [2], one adenocarcinoma of the pancreas [14], one diffuse histiocytic lymphoma of the adrenal gland [7], one sarcoma of the pelvis [5], and two transitional cell carcinomas of the renal pelvis and ureter [14, 17]. One patient who developed a contralateral testicular tumor was excluded from risk assessment. The actuarial risk of second nontesticular cancer is 3%, 5%, and 20%, respectively, at 5, 10, and 15 years of follow-up. When compared with the general population, the overall risk of second nontesticular cancer in the study group did not reach the 0.05 significance level, with an observed/expected (O/E) ratio of 2.09 (95% confidence interval, 0.39-3.35). When analyzed by the latency period after radiation treatment, during the period of 11 to 15 years, the risk was higher (O/E ratio of 4.45, 95% confidence interval, 1.22-11.63) than expected. The median duration for developing a second cancer was 11 years for tumors arising from tissues outside the irradiated field and 14 years for those within or near the irradiated area.


The overall observed incidence of second nontesticular malignancy among patients with early-stage testicular seminoma treated with adjuvant radiation therapy was not significantly increased in comparison with the expected incidence. Clinical implications are discussed.

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