Clinical stage I nonseminoma: Surgery versus surveillance

R. S. Foster, B. J. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The presentation of nonseminomatous germ cell tumor confined clinically to the testicle (clinical stage I) is associated with a 30% incidence of occult retroperitoneal metastases. For decades, the standard of care in these patients has been a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND), both for staging purposes, and, in the pre-modern chemotherapy era, it was performed with curative intent. The improvements in combination chemotherapy during the past 20 years have resulted in the cure of most individuals with small volume recurrent disease, calling into question the continued need for RPLND. The strategy of surveillance and chemotherapy for the 30% who relapse has gained acceptance, and, with meticulous follow-up, can result in the same excellent cure rates seen in patients treated with the surgical option. Although primary chemotherapy has also been suggested as a treatment option, the majority of patients will receive that chemotherapy unnecessarily, and cure rates with this strategy will not surpass those for surveillance or RPLND. Prognostic factors have been developed that can successfully identify a group of patients who are at an extremely low risk of relapse, thus potentially sparing these individuals any additional therapy. However, attempts to define a very high risk population have been unsuccessful to date, and we await the development of newer biologic markers able to predict which patients are most likely to have occult retroperitoneal disease and therefore most likely to benefit from additional 'adjuvant' therapy post-orchiectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 14 1998


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