The prognostic significance of endodermal sinus tumor histology among patients treated for stage III nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testes
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A retrospective study was undertaken to determine the prognostic significance of endodermal sinus tumor (EST) elements in 56 patients with Stage III nonseminatous germ cell tumors of the testes (NSGCTT). The study patients were treated with conventional vinblastine, bleomycin and cisplatinum chemotherapy prior to our recognition of EST as a distinct entity. Twenty-one (37.5%) of the patients had EST elements in their tumors. Nineteen patients had EST in their primary testis tumor, whereas two had EST in metastatic sites only. Prognostic criteria (tumor volume, Dixon-Moore classification and chemotherapy vinblastin and bleomycin [VB] and VB plus cisplatin [VB + P] ) were similar in EST and non-EST patients. Long-term disease-free survival was significantly poorer for patients with Stage III NSGCTT containing EST (38%) compared with those not containing EST (71%) (P = 0.04). All 12 patients with small volume disease (III-B1-III-B2), independent of the presence of EST, are alive and free of disease for more than 2 years. Only 6 of 18 patients (33%) with advanced disease and EST are alive and free of disease, whereas 17 of 26 (65%) of patients with advanced disease not containing EST are alive and free of disease (P = 0.074). The addition of single agent bolus cisplatin to the treatment of patients with advanced disease achieved no improvement in survival. Endodermal sinus tumor must be included in future studies of advanced Stage III NSGCTT as an important prognostic variable.