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Keywords:

  • Stage I nonseminoma;
  • testicular cancer;
  • surveillance;
  • long-term follow-up;
  • orchidectomy

Objective

To re-evaluate a national prospective study in New Zealand after 17 years to define whether orchidectomy alone and surveillance for nonseminoma germ cell testicular tumour (NSGCTT) is a sound policy and matches the results achieved by other treatment protocols.

Patients and methods

Between 1980 and 1997, 248 men with stage I NSGCTT, from six New Zealand centres, were managed by orchidectomy alone and surveillance, with treatment of relapses using combination chemotherapy.

Results

Seventy of the 248 patients (28%) relapsed; 42 of 92 (46%) with vascular and/or lymphatic invasion (VLI) in the primary tumour relapsed, whereas only 26 of 151 (17%) without this feature relapsed (P<0.001). VLI was the only identifiable risk factor for relapse in this series. Only one relapse occurred >28 months after orchidectomy. Despite poor compliance in some patients (12%) their survival was not prejudiced. Three patients died from disease despite chemotherapy at relapse. At 17 years and a median follow-up of 53 months, 242 of the 248 men are disease-free and the disease-specific survival rate is 98%.

Conclusions

This study shows that orchidectomy alone and treatment of relapses produces excellent long-term results without the adverse effects associated with retroperitoneal node dissection or elective chemotherapy for high-risk cases.