Clinical characteristics of metachronous bilateral testicular tumors in the chemotherapeutic era
Neoplasms, Second Primary
We wanted to present the results of our experience with bilateral testis tumor and to suggest the effects of chemotherapy in suppressing the development of second primary testicular tumors. Between 1978 and 1997, 2,345 patients were treated for testicular tumor at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Of these, 2,107 had germ cell cancers. There were 22 (0.94%) cases of bilateral testicular tumor in the overall patient population and 21 (1.0%) cases among patients with germ cell cancer. We reviewed the medical records to determine the incidence of the histological subtype, the incidence of metachronous versus synchronous formation of contralateral tumors, and tumor stage in this patient population. We also examined the effect of chemotherapy in treating the first tumor and preventing the occurrence of a second tumor. Finally, we compared the effect of ultrasonography, serum tumor marker elevation, and physical examination in detecting second tumors. Only one contralateral germ cell tumor developed synchronously; all others developed metachronously. Fifty percent of first tumors were seminomas, compared to 55% of second tumors. The histologic concordance rate for first and second tumors was 35%. Tumor stage was higher among first tumors than second tumors. The majority of second tumors in patients who received chemotherapy for first malignancies tended to be metachronous seminomas. Ultrasonography detected 6 of 21 (28.6%) contralateral tumors before they were evident by physical examination or serum tumor marker elevation. Seminomas were more prevalent among patients with bilateral germ cell disease than patients with unilateral disease. Chemotherapy, when used as treatment for first tumors, may have some effect in preventing the development of nonseminomatous germ cell tumors in the contralateral testicle. Close follow-up of the contralateral testis with ultrasonography is essential for early detection of second tumors. The outcome for patients with bilateral testicular germ cell cancer is excellent, secondary to early detection.