Treatment of stage I seminoma: Is it time to change your practice?
At the plenary session of the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, updated results were presented from a large randomized phase III trial comparing adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) and one cycle of Carboplatin for the adjuvant treatment of Stage I seminoma. Results of this Medical Research Council (MRC) trial led its investigators to conclude that one cycle of carboplatin was equivalent in safety and efficacy and less toxic than RT. In this editorial, the trial's design, statistics, toxicity, and length of follow-up are discussed within the context of historical treatments of this disease. With a 1.3% increase in relapse rate (5.3% with carboplatin vs. 4.0% with radiation), a 3% or greater increase in relapse rate could not be excluded, the primary endpoint of the study. A decrease in second testicular germ cell tumors was observed, but was equivalent to the increase in relapse rate. Acute toxicity was generally less with carboplatin. However, the extent of late toxicity, including late second neoplasms, cannot be evaluated because of the short median follow-up. Carboplatin is not yet a standard of care. Surveillance-based strategies, including risk-adapted policies that limit RT to patients with the greatest likelihood of relapse remain prudent at this time.