Late relapse and follow-up protocols in testicular germ cell tumours: The Edinburgh Cancer Centre experience and review of the literature

Beatrice Detti, Paul A. Elliott, Duncan B. McLaren, Grahame C.W. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Materials and Methods: The Edinburgh Cancer Centre (ECC) database identified all patients diagnosed with testicular GCT between 1988 and 2002. Of 703 patients, six relapsed more than 24 months after their initial treatment. A retrospective casenote review was performed to extract clinical, pathological, treatment and outcome data.

Results: Six patients (0.85%) underwent late relapse. All patients presented initially with stage I disease and five were classified as good risk (International Germ Cell Consensus Classification, IGCCC). Median time to LR was 31 months. Two patients had previously relapsed less than 24 months from initial diagnosis. Markers at the time of relapse were normal in all patients. In all cases of late relapse disease was confined to axial lymphadenopathy. Three patients were treated with chemotherapy alone, two patients underwent surgical resection and one patient received combined treatment. All patients obtained a complete response and all remain disease free with a median follow-up of 52 months.

Conclusions: The incidence of late relapse in this series is low. Chemo-naive patients with LR were successfully salvaged with chemotherapy alone and patients previously exposed to cisplatin-based chemotherapy were salvaged with complete surgical excision. The optimal length of follow-up in patients with testicular germ cell tumours is not known and practice varies widely. In this cohort of 703 patients, only one patient who relapsed was picked up by additional clinic follow-up between 5 and 10 years. Thus, on the basis of this small series, the authors suggest that follow-up after five years may not be justified.

Aims: To identify clinicopathological features and outcomes in patients with late relapse (LR) of testicular germ cell tumours (GCTs) in order to guide follow-up policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Medicine: Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2008


  • Follow-up
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Late relapse


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