Retroperitoneal imaging with third and fourth generation computed axial tomography in clinical stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumors.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the accuracy rate of abdominal staging using third and fourth generation computed tomography (CT) scanning in clinical Stage I testicular nonseminoma patients. METHODS: Between January 1985 and August 1993, 57 patients presented to our center with clinical Stage I testicular nonseminoma. Retroperitoneal computed tomographic staging studies were interpreted to be normal preoperatively in the entire group. In addition, tumor marker values were normal or returned to normal postorchiectomy within the appropriate half-life intervals. All patients were subjected to radical or modified retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (19% and 72%, respectively). Original abdominal CT scans (preretroperitoneal lymph node dissection) were available for blinded retrospective re-review in 16 cases (7 pathologic Stage II, 9 pathologic Stage I). RESULTS: Nineteen of 57 (33%) patients were upstaged at surgery including 6 patients (11%) who demonstrated II B volume disease. Third and fourth generation CT scanning of the retroperitoneum yielded a 66% accuracy rate in this population. Six out of 7 pathologic Stage II pre-lymph node dissection abdominal CT scans that were available for blinded re-review revealed nonpathologic nodes by size criteria in the primary landing zone for the corresponding original tumor. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggests that for clinical Stage I nonseminoma in the 1985 to 1993 era, undue reliance was placed on a less than ideal staging test. The 33% false-negative rate reported showed no improvement over earlier reports and reaffirms concern for relying solely on third or fourth generation CT imaging of the retroperitoneum in the staging of clinical Stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumor (NSGCT) patients. The presence of any number of lymph nodes in the expected primary landing zone, regardless of size, should raise serious suspicion for occult nodal disease.
Fernandez, EB; Moul, JW; Foley, JP; Colon, E; McLeod, DG
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