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J Clin Oncol. 1992 Apr;10(4):574-9.

Long-term effects of chemotherapy in patients with testicular cancer.

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Department of Clinical Oncology, University Hospital, Leiden, The Netherlands.



Combination chemotherapy regimens that include cisplatin (CDDP) and bleomycin (BLE) result in the cure of the majority of patients with malignant germ cell tumors of the testis. We investigated the long-term damage of such chemotherapy to renal, pulmonary, and hearing function.


Forty-three patients with disseminated testicular carcinoma were studied 1.5 to 9.3 years (median, 4.1 years) after completion of chemotherapy. All 43 patients received CDDP; of these, 39 also received BLE, 27 vinblastine (VLB), and 27 etoposide (VP-16). Mean cumulative doses of individual cytotoxic drugs administered were CDDP 483 mg/m2 (range, 189 to 1,173 mg/m2), BLE 160 mg/m2 (range, 81 to 311 mg/m2), VLB 31 mg/m2 (range, 19 to 158 mg/m2), and VP-16 667 mg/m2 (range, 242 to 1,455 mg/m2).


In the majority of cases, values of renal, pulmonary, and hearing function were within the normal range before treatment. An initial decrease in renal, pulmonary, and hearing function was observed, with recovery of pulmonary function at late follow-up. On average, a decrease of 15% in creatinine clearance rates was observed at late follow-up. Long-term effect on audiometric function was considerable, but frequencies affected were outside the range of conversational speech. With multivariate analysis, no overall relation between the cumulative doses of the individual drugs and the loss in organ function was found; the cumulative doses of CDDP and BLE only contributed approximately 30% to the loss in renal function and vital capacity, respectively.


Chemotherapy-induced pulmonary toxicity is reversible, whereas nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity are not. However, the long-term effects of chemotherapy in testicular cancer patients were minor and not invalidating.

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