Role of chemotherapy prior to orchiectomy in metastatic testicular cancer—is testis really a sanctuary site?

27 Feb 2014
B Vinusha Reddy, A Sivakanth, G Naveen Babu, Krishnamurthy Swamyvelu, YG Basavana Goud, BA Madhusudhana, Vasu Reddy Challa

A germ-cell tumour (GCT) of the testis is a chemosensitive tumour with high cure rates even in advanced disease. Radical inguinal orchiectomy is the initial procedure used to diagnose it which helps to risk-stratify these patients. However, in patients with life-threatening metastases, primary chemotherapy was attempted in a few studies, followed by delayed orchiectomy. The aim of this review is to study the histopathological findings of delayed orchiectomy and the retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) specimens, to assess difference and concordance in response rates in histological types of GCTs in pathological specimens. Overall, 352 patients received initial chemotherapy followed by orchiectomy, and 235 of them had undergone RPLND. Delayed orchiectomy specimens had viable tumour in 74 (21%) patients, scarring/necrosis in 171 patients (48.5%), and teratoma in 107 (30.3%) patients. RPLND specimens had residual disease in 36 (15.3%) patients, scarring/necrosis in 100 patients (42.5%), and teratoma in 99 patients (42.3%). Patients with seminoma who underwent delayed orchiectomy had complete disappearance of tumour in 81.3% of cases, and in non-seminomatous GCT, it was 43.4%. These results raise the question of the existence of a blood–testis barrier in patients with advanced GCT and argue against the testis as a sanctuary site.

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