Jerome P. Richie, MD

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Current Role of Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection in Testicular Cancer

May 1st 1997

Carcinoma of the testis is the most common malignancy in males 15 to 35 years of age. Testicular cancer has become one of the most curable solid neoplasms and, as such, serves as a paradigm for the multimodality treatment of malignancies. The cure rate for patients with clinical stage I disease is nearly 100%, and patients with advanced disease now achieve complete remission rates of over 90%. The markedly improved outlook for patients with this cancer over the past 15 years has led to a reassessment of management options, especially in patients with clinical stage I disease. The realization that platinum-based chemotherapy could cure most patients with an advanced nonseminomatous germ cell tumor (NSGCT), especially those with minimal disease, led to the introduction of various strategies to decrease the morbidity associated with surgical management. These strategies include surveillance protocols, chemotherapy for clinical stage II disease, and observation protocols for a subset of patients with advanced disease who have had a partial response to chemotherapy. Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) has an important place in the management of both low- and high-stage testicular cancer. It offers the patient two basic benefits: accurate staging and the possibility of a surgical cure, even in the presence of metastatic disease. [ONCOLOGY 11(5):717-729, 1997]