Nonrandomized comparison of primary chemotherapy and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for clinical stage IIA and IIB nonseminomatous germ cell testicular cancer
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Lymph Node Excision
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
PURPOSE Patients with clinical stage (CS) IIA and IIB nonseminomatous germ cell tumor (NSGCT) with adenopathy more than 2 cm, multiple masses, elevated serum tumor markers, or disease outside the primary landing zone have increasingly been recommended to receive primary chemotherapy over time at our institution. The impact of these selection factors on the outcome of patients managed primarily by retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) or chemotherapy was examined. PATIENTS AND METHODS Between 1989 and 2002, 252 patients with CS IIA and IIB NSGCT were referred to our institution for initial management, of whom 136 underwent RPLND and 116 received chemotherapy and postchemotherapy RPLND. Patient information was obtained from a prospective RPLND database. Results Proportionately more patients received chemotherapy over time (22% in 1989 to 1993 v 68% in 1999 to 2002), and the relapse-free survival (RFS) subsequently improved from 84% (1989 to 1998) to 98% (1999 to 2002; P = .004) without increasing the proportion who received any chemotherapy (70% v 79%; P = .16). By increasingly selecting patients with adverse features for primary chemotherapy, the RFS after RPLND improved from 78% to 100% (P = .019), but rates of pathologic stage II and retroperitoneal teratoma were unaffected. Retroperitoneal histology and RFS did not change over time for chemotherapy patients. Primary chemotherapy was associated with improved RFS compared with RPLND (98% v 79%; P < .001), but disease-specific survival did not differ significantly (100% v 98%; P = .3). CONCLUSION Patient selection factors have significantly improved the outcome of patients with CS IIA and IIB NSGCT without substantially increasing the proportion of patients exposed to chemotherapy.