Early-stage testicular cancers are highly curable. Following orchidectomy, management options for stage I disease include active surveillance, nerve-sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (nsRPLND) and primary chemotherapy as recommended by the current guidelines. Primary RPLND has for decades played an integral part of treatment in patients with early-stage testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT), particularly in nonseminomatous germ cell tumors (NSGCT) with focus on reducing the long-term morbidity. We review the role of RPLND in stage I NSCGT as well as stage II A/B NSGCT and as seminoma.
Radiation therapy and systemic chemotherapy are established treatments for seminoma; however, long-term data has demonstrated the association of such therapies with late toxicity including secondary malignancies, hearing loss, cardiovascular disease as well as metabolic syndromes. Given the well established role of RPLND in NSGCTs, clinicians have developed an interest in utilization of surgery for low-volume retroperitoneal metastatic disease. Two prospective clinical trials (SEMS and PRIMETEST) are underway to determine the role of RPLND alone in low volume metastatic seminoma.
RPLND is a highly effective treatment for early-stage germ cell tumors but represents overtreatment in low-volume stage I disease where active surveillance is recommended. RPLND has shown a promising role in low-volume stage II seminomas. Two phase II clinical trials are underway to further determine the curative potential of this approach.