Prognostic factors in low-stage nonseminomatous testicular cancer.
Whether patients with clinical stage I nonseminomatous testicular germ-cell cancer (NSGCT) should be treated with orchiectomy and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) or orchiectomy and surveillance remains controversial. Proponents of the former approach cite the uncertainty and risks of monitoring young men who may harbor occult metastases, while proponents of the latter strategy contend that surgical staging overtreats 60% to 70% of men. Over the last few years, prognostic factors in the primary testicular tumor have helped clinicians make more rational decisions about whether RPLND or surveillance should follow initial orchiectomy. As of 1996, the most clinically useful prognostic factors are the percentage of embryonal carcinoma and the presence or absence of vascular invasion by tumor cells in the primary tumor. Ongoing work with flow cytometry, image analysis, proliferation markers, and oncogene and tumor-suppressor gene markers may allow us to further stratify patients as to their likelihood of occult metastases and permit rational "risk-adaptive" treatment.
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