The role of adjunctive postchemotherapy surgery for nonseminomatous germ-cell tumors: Current concepts and controversies
Adjunctive surgical resection of residual disease after chemotherapy is a critical part of the comprehensive management of patients with advanced nonseminomatous germ-cell tumor (NSGCT). Surgical resection is indicated in the presence of residual radiographic abnormalities and normal serum tumor markers. Necrosis, teratoma, and viable carcinoma can be found at any resected site. After induction chemotherapy, necrosis comprises approximately 50% of histologic findings, teratoma 40%, and viable GCT the remaining 10%. A number of investigators have attempted to predict the presence of necrosis in an effort to obviate surgery. A number of variables predictive of necrosis have been identified and tested prospectively, including: degree of tumor shrinkage, size of pre- and posttreatment mass(es), prechemotherapy markers, and teratomatous components in the orchiectomy specimen. However, the risk for a false-negative prediction remains approximately 20%. The most rigorous approach remains a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND). Furthermore, the histologic discordance between different sites ranges from 29% to 46%; thus, all sites of residual disease should be resected. The patient's prognosis is influenced by: (1) completeness of resection, and (2) biology of the tumor (histology of residual mass(es), marker status at the time of RPLND, and prior burden of therapy). Surgical boundaries and completeness of dissection should not be compromised in an attempt to preserve ejaculation.