Efficacy of radiographic chest imaging in patients with testicular cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of computed tomography of the chest (CTC) and plain radiograph (CXR) in the initial staging process of testicular germ cell tumors. METHODS: The medical records of 362 patients with testicular germ cell tumor treated at our center between January 1980 and August 1993 were reviewed with particular attention to initial chest screening studies. Two hundred one patients had both CXR and CTC, 24 CXR alone, and 20 CTC alone during initial staging. One hundred seventeen patients were excluded from analyses because of undergoing whole lung tomography (92), unknown staging (19), or inadequate follow-up (6). Analysis included findings based on abdominal staging results using computed tomography of the abdomen (CTA). RESULTS: Of the 201 patients who had both CTC and CXR, 117 (58.2%) had nonseminomas (NSGCT) and 84 (41.8%) had seminomas (SEM). Among the patients with NSGCT, 21 (17.9%) had chest metastasis, 16 (76.2%) of which were detected by CXR. The 5 that were missed on CXR had significant retroperitoneal disease documented by CTA and the knowledge of chest metastases potentially altered therapy in 2 patients. Only 2 of 84 (2.4%) patients with SEM had metastatic chest disease and both were identified by CXR. False-positive CTC following negative CXR resulted in costly and sometimes invasive additional procedures in 10 patients with NSGCT and 6 with SEM. None of the CXR-only patients had adverse consequences from the solitary study (at least 1 year follow-up). The CTC-only patients could have undergone CXR only and had similar outcome. CONCLUSIONS: CXR alone is preferable for initial chest staging in all patients with SEM and in patients with NSGCT with negative findings on CTA. CTC remains of slight benefit for patients with clinical Stage II and greater NSGCT and to evaluate further suspicious CXR findings in any patient, although it appears not to be necessary in patients who have clinical Stage I disease determined by CTA. These findings have important cost-saving implications.
Fernandez, EB; Colon, E; McLeod, DG; Moul, JW
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