Testicular Cancer

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EAU GUIDELINES ON TESTICULAR CANCER

(Limited text update March 2017)

P. Albers (Chair), W. Albrecht, F. Algaba, C. Bokemeyer, G. Cohn-Cedermark, K. Fizazi, A. Horwich, M.P. Laguna, N. Nicolai, J. Oldenburg

Introduction

Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is relatively rare accounting for approximately 1-1.5% of all cancers in men. Nowadays, testicular tumours show excellent cure rates, mainly due to early diagnosis and their extreme chemo- and radiosensitivity.

Staging and Classification

Staging

Postorchiectomy half-life kinetics of serum tumour markers

For an accurate staging the following steps are necessary (see Table 1):

The persistence of elevated serum tumour markers after orchiectomy may indicate the presence of disease, while their normalisation does not necessarily mean absence of tumour. Tumour markers should be assessed until they are normal, as long as they follow their half-life kinetics and no metastases are revealed. A chest computed tomography (CT) scan should be routinely performed in patients diagnosed with non-seminomatous germ cell tumours (NSGCT), because in up to 10% of cases, small subpleural nodes may be present that are not visible radiologically.

Table 1: Recommended tests for staging at diagnosis

Test

Recommendation

GR

Serum tumour markers

Alpha-fetoprotein human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)

Lactate dehydrogenase

A

Abdominopelvic computed tomography (CT)

All patients

A

Chest CT

All patients

A

Testis ultrasound (bilateral)

All patients

A

* scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) columna

In case of symptoms

Brain scan (CT/MRI)

In case of symptoms and patients with metastatic disease with multiple lung metastases and/or high beta-hCG values.

Further investigations

Fertility investigations:

Total testosterone

Luteinising hormone

Follicle-stimulating hormone

Semen analysis

B

Discuss sperm banking with all men prior to starting treatment for testicular cancer.

A

Staging system

The Tumour, Node, Metastasis (TNM 2017) staging system is endorsed (Table 2).

Table 2: TNM classification for testicular cancer

pT - Primary Tumour1

pTX

Primary tumour cannot be assessed (see note 1)

pT0

No evidence of primary tumour (e.g. histological scar in testis)

pTis

Intratubular germ cell neoplasia (carcinoma in situ)

pT1

Tumour limited to testis and epididymis without vascular/lymphatic invasion; tumour may invade tunica albuginea but not tunica vaginalis*

pT2

Tumour limited to testis and epididymis with vascular/lymphatic invasion, or tumour extending through tunica albuginea with involvement of tunica vaginalis

pT3

Tumour invades spermatic cord with or without vascular/lymphatic invasion

pT4

Tumour invades scrotum with or without vascular/lymphatic invasion

N - Regional Lymph Nodes - Clinical

NX

Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed

N0

No regional lymph node metastasis

N1

Metastasis with a lymph node mass 2 cm or less in greatest dimension or multiple lymph nodes, none more than 2 cm in greatest dimension

N2

Metastasis with a lymph node mass more than 2 cm but not more than 5 cm in greatest dimension, or multiple lymph nodes, any one mass more than 2 cm but not more than 5 cm in greatest dimension

N3

Metastasis with a lymph node mass more than 5 cm in greatest dimension

Pn - Regional Lymph Nodes - Pathological

pNX

Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed

pN0

No regional lymph node metastasis

pN1

Metastasis with a lymph node mass 2 cm or less in greatest dimension and 5 or fewer positive nodes, none more than 2 cm in greatest dimension

pN2

Metastasis with a lymph node mass more than 2 cm but not more than 5 cm in greatest dimension; or more than 5 nodes positive, none more than 5 cm; or evidence or extranodal extension of tumour

pN3

Metastasis with a lymph node mass more than 5 cm in greatest dimension

M - Distant Metastasis

MX

Distant metastasis cannot be assessed

M0

No distant metastasis

M1

Distant metastasis

M1a

Non-regional lymph node(s) or lung metastasis

M1b

Distant metastasis other than non-regional lymph nodes and lung

S - Serum tumour markers

SX

Serum marker studies not available or not performed

S0

Serum marker study levels within normal limits

LDH (U/l)

hCG (mIU/mL)

AFP (ng/mL)

S1

< 1.5 x N and

< 5,000 and

< 1,000

S2

1.5-10 x N or

5,000-50,000 or

1,000-10,000

S3

> 10 x N or

> 50,000 or

> 10,000

N indicates the upper limit of normal for the LDH assay.

LDH=lactate dehydrogenase; hCG=human chorionic gonadotrophin; AFP=alpha-fetoprotein.
1Except for pTis and pT4, where radical orchidectomy is not always necessary for classification purposes, the extent of the primary tumour is classified after radical orchidectomy; see pT. In other circumstances, TX is used if no radical orchidectomy has been performed.

The International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group (IGCCCG) defined a prognostic factor-based staging system for metastatic germ cell cancer that includes good and intermediate prognosis seminoma and good, intermediate, and poor prognosis NSGCT (Table 3).

Table 3: Prognostic-based staging system for metastatic germ cell cancer (IGCCCG)*

Good-prognosis group

Non-seminoma (56% of cases)

5-year PFS 89%

5-year survival 92%

All of the following criteria:

• Testis/retro-peritoneal primary

• No non-pulmonary visceral metastases

• AFP < 1,000 ng/mL

• hCG < 5,000 IU/L (1,000 ng/mL)

• LDH < 1.5 x ULN

Seminoma (90% of cases)

5-year PFS 82%

5-year survival 86%

All of the following criteria:

• Any primary site

• No non-pulmonary visceral metastases

• Normal AFP

• Any hCG

• Any LDH

Intermediate prognosis group

Non-seminoma (28% of cases)

5-year PFS 75%

5-year survival 80%

• Testis/retro-peritoneal primary

• No non-pulmonary visceral metastases

Any of the following criteria:

• AFP 1,000 - 10,000 ng/mL or

• hCG 5,000 - 50,000 IU/L or

• LDH 1.5 - 10 x ULN

Seminoma (10% of cases)

5-year PFS 67%

5-year survival 72%

All of the following criteria:

• Any primary site

• Non-pulmonary visceral metastases

• Normal AFP

• Any hCG

• Any LDH

Poor prognosis group

Non-seminoma (16% of cases)

5-year PFS 41%

5-year survival 48%

Any of the following criteria:

• Mediastinal primary

• Non-pulmonary visceral metastases

• AFP > 10,000 ng/mL or

• hCG > 50,000 IU/L (10,000 ng/mL) or

• LDH > 10 x ULN

Seminoma

No patients classified as poor prognosis

* Pre-chemotherapy serum tumour markers should be assessed immediately prior to the administration of chemotherapy (same day).

PFS=progression-free survival; AFP=alpha-fetoprotein; hCG=human chorionic gonadotrophin; LDH=lactate dehydrogenase.

Diagnostic evaluation

The diagnosis of testicular cancer is based on:

Clinical examination of the testis and general examination to rule out enlarged nodes or abdominal masses. Ultrasound (US) of both testes should be performed whenever a testicular tumour is suspected. An additional US of the retroperitoneum is recommended to screen for extensive retroperitoneal metastasis. Ultrasound of both testes should also be performed in patients with a retroperitoneal mass and/or elevated tumour serum markers without a palpable scrotal mass.

Serum tumour markers, both before, and five-seven days after orchiectomy (AFP and hCG) and LDH. The latter is mandatory in advanced tumours.

Inguinal exploration and orchiectomy with en bloc removal of testis, tunica albuginea, and spermatic cord. If the diagnosis is not clear, a testicular biopsy (tumour enucleation) is to be taken for histopathological frozen section.

Organ-sparing surgery can be attempted in special cases (bilateral tumour or solitary testes). Routine contralateral biopsy for diagnosis of carcinoma in situ should be discussed with the patient and is recommended in 'high risk' patients (testicular volume < 12 mL, a history of cryptorchidism and age < 40 years).

Pathological examination of the testis

Following orchiectomy, the pathological examination of the testis should include a number of investigations.

1.macroscopic features: side, testis size, maximum tumour size, and macroscopic features of the epididymis, spermatic cord, and tunica vaginalis;

2.sampling: a 1 cm2 section for every centimetre of maximum tumour diameter, including normal macroscopic parenchyma (if present), albuginea and epididymis, with selection of suspected areas;

3.at least one proximal and one distal section of spermatic cord plus any suspected area;

4.microscopic features and diagnosis: histological type (specify individual components and estimate amount as percentage) according to WHO 2004;

5.presence or absence of peri-tumoural venous and/or lymphatic invasion;

6.presence or absence of albuginea, tunica vaginalis, rete testis, epididymis or spermatic cord invasion;

7.presence or absence of germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS) in non-tumour parenchyma.

8.pT category according to TNM 2017;

9.immunohistochemical studies: in seminoma and mixed germ cell tumour, AFP and hCG.

Diagnosis and treatment of testicular intraepithelial neoplasia (TIN)

Diagnosis and treatment of testicular intraepithelial neoplasia (TIN) Biopsy should be offered to patients at high risk for contralateral TIN (testicular volume < 12 mL, history of cryptorchidism or poor spermatogenesis). If performed, a double biopsy is preferred. In the case of TIN, local radiotherapy is indicated following counselling on impaired testosterone production and infertility.

Guidelines for the diagnosis and staging of testicular cancer

GR

Perform testicular ultrasound in all patients with suspicion of testicular cancer.

A

Offer biopsy of the contralateral testis and discuss its consequences with patients at high risk for contralateral germ cell neoplasia in situ.

A

Perform orchiectomy and pathological examination of the testis to confirm the diagnosis and to define the local extension (pT category). In a life-threatening situation due to extensive metastasis, start chemotherapy before orchiectomy.

A

Perform serum determination of tumour markers (alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotrophin, and lactate dehydrogenase), both before and five-seven days after orchiectomy for staging and prognostic reasons.

A

Assess the state of the retroperitoneal, mediastinal and supraclavicular nodes and viscera in testicular cancer.

A

Advise patients with a familiar history of testis cancer, as well as their family members, to perform regular testicular self-examination.

A

Prognosis

Risk factors for occult metastatic disease in stage I testicular cancer

For seminoma

For non-seminoma

Pathological (for stage I)

Histopathological type

Tumour size (> 4 cm)

Invasion of the rete testis

Vascular/lymphatic or peri-tumoural invasion

Proliferation rate > 70%

Percentage of embryonal carcinoma > 50%

Disease management

Guidelines for the treatment of stage I seminoma

GR

Offer surveillance as a management option if facilities are available and the patient is compliant.

A*

Offer one course at area under curve (AUC) 7, if carboplatin chemotherapy is considered.

A

Do not perform adjuvant treatment in patients at very low risk (no risk factors).

A

Do not perform radiotherapy as adjuvant treatment.

A

*Upgraded following panel consensus.

Guidelines for the treatment of stage 1 non-seminomatous germ cell tumour

LE

GR

Inform patients with stage 1 non-seminomatous germ cell tumour (NSGCT) about all adjuvant treatment options after orchiectomy (surveillance, adjuvant chemotherapy, and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection [RPLND]) including treatment-specific recurrence rates as well as acute and long-term side effects.

2a

A*

In patients with stage 1 NSGCT, offer surveillance or risk-adapted treatment based on vascular invasion (see below).

2a

A*

If patients are not willing to undergo surveillance, offer one course of cisplatin, etoposide, bleomycin (BEP) as an adjuvant treatment alternative since it has proven to be superior to RPLND in terms of recurrence rates.

1b

A*

In patients with marker-positive recurrent and/or progressing lesion during surveillance, perform salvage treatment consisting of three or four courses of BEP chemotherapy according to the International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group classification, followed by post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, if necessary.

2a

A

*Upgraded following panel consensus.

Risk-adapted treatment for clinical stage 1 based on vascular invasion

LE

GR

Stage IA (pT1, no vascular invasion): low risk

Offer surveillance if the patient is willing and able to comply.

2a

A

In low-risk patients not willing (or suitable) to undergo surveillance, offer adjuvant chemotherapy with one course of cisplatin, etoposide, bleomycin (BEP).

2a

A*

Stage IB (pT2-pT4): high risk

Offer primary chemotherapy with one course of BEP.

2a

A*

Inform patients having adjuvant chemotherapy about the advantages and disadvantages of one vs. two cycles of BEP.

2a

A*

Offer surveillance to patients not willing to undergo adjuvant chemotherapy.

A*

Offer nerve-sparing RPLND to highly selected patients only; those with contraindication to adjuvant chemotherapy and unwilling to accept surveillance.

A*

*Upgraded following panel consensus.

Figure 1: Treatment options in patients with seminoma clinical stage IIA and B

Guidelines for the treatment of metastatic germ cell tumours

LE

GR

Treat low volume non-seminomatous germ cell tumour (NSGCT) stage IIA/B with elevated markers like ‘good or intermediate prognosis’ advanced NSGCT, with three or four cycles of cisplatin, etoposide, bleomycin (BEP).

2

A

In stage IIA/B NSGCT without marker elevation, exclude marker negative embryonal carcinoma by obtaining histology by either retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) or biopsy. If not possible, repeat staging after six weeks of surveillance before making a final decision on further treatment.

3

B

In metastatic NSGCT with an intermediate prognosis, treat with four courses of standard BEP.

1

A

In metastatic NSGCT with a poor prognosis, treat with one cycle of BEP, followed by tumour marker assessment after three weeks: in the case of an unfavourable decline, initiate chemotherapy intensification. In the case of a favourable decline, continue BEP up to a total of four cycles.

1

A

Perform surgical resection of residual masses after chemotherapy in NSGCT in the case of visible residual masses and when serum levels of tumour markers are normal or normalising.

2

A

Initially offer radiotherapy for seminoma CS IIA.

2

B

When necessary, use chemotherapy as a salvage treatment with the same schedule as for the corresponding prognostic groups of NSGCT.

1a

A

Initially offer chemotherapy in seminoma stage CS IIB (BEP x 3 or etoposide, cisplatin (EP) x 4, in good prognosis) as an alternative to radiotherapy.

1

A

Treat seminoma stage IIC and higher, with primary chemotherapy according to the same principles used for NSGCT.

Relapse after chemotherapy

The treatment of relapsed GCT after chemotherapy is typically salvage chemotherapy. For patients at first relapse with good prognostic features (initial achievement of CR/PRM- and gonadal primary tumour) four cycles of standard-dose salvage chemotherapy are proposed. For patients with poor prognostic factors (extragonadal primary and/or incomplete response to first-line chemotherapy) and for all patients with subsequent (> first) relapse, high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell support is recommended.

Follow-up

The primary aim of follow-up in the first five years is the timely diagnosis of recurrent disease in order to be able to treat the patient with curative intent with the least aggressive therapy.

a).Interval between examinations and duration of follow-up should be consistent with the time of maximal risk of recurrence;

b).Tests should be directed at the most likely sites of recurrence and have a good accuracy;

c).The increased risk of second malignancy (in the primary site and in other tissues that may have been exposed to the same carcinogens, or in which there is epidemiological evidence of increased risk) should also guide the selection of tests;

d).Non-malignant complications of therapy must also be considered.

Table 4: Recommended minimal follow-up for seminoma stage I on active surveillance or after adjuvant treatment (carboplatin or radiotherapy)

Modality

Year
1

Year
2

Year
3

Years 4 & 5

After 5 years

Tumour markers

± doctor visit

2 times

2 times

2 times

once

Further management according to survivorship care plan

Chest X-ray

-

-

-

-

Abdominopelvic computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging

2 times

2 times

Once at 36 months

Once at 60 months

Table 5: Recommended minimal follow-up for non-seminoma stage I on active surveillance

Modality

Year
1

Year
2

Year
3

Years 4 & 5

After 5 years

Tumour markers

± doctor visit

4 times**

4 times

2 times

1-2 times

Further management according to survivorship care plan

Chest X-ray

2 times

2 times

Once, in case of LVI+

At 60 months if LVI+

Abdominopelvic computed

tomography/magnetic resonance imaging

2 times

At 24 months ***

Once at 36 months*

Once at 60 months*

*Recommended by 50% of the consensus group members.

**In case of high risk (LVI+) a minority of the consensus group members recommended six times.

***In case of high risk (LVI+) a majority of the consensus group members recommended an additional CT at eighteen months.

Table 6: Recommended minimal follow up after adjuvant treatment or complete remission for advanced disease (excluded: poor prognosis and no remission)

Modality

Year
1

Year
2

Year
3

Years 4 & 5

After 5 years

Tumour markers ± doctor visit

4 times

4 times

2 times

2 times

Further management according to survivorship care plan**

Chest X-ray

1-2 times

Once

Once

Once

Abdominopelvic computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging

1-2 times

At 24 months

Once at 36 months

Once at 60 months

Thorax CT

*

*

*

*

*Same time points as abdomino-pelvic CT/MRI in case of pulmonary metastases at diagnosis.

**In case of teratoma in resected residual disease: the patient should remain with the uro-oncologist.

Quality of life and long-term toxicities after cure

Patients diagnosed with TC are usually between 18 and 40 years at diagnosis and life expectancy after cure extends over several decades. Before any treatment is planned, patients should be informed of common long-term toxicities.

Testicular Stromal Tumours

Testicular stromal tumours are rare, however, Leydig cell and Sertoli cell tumours are of clinical relevance.

Leydig cell tumours

Approximately 10% of Leydig tumours are malignant presenting the following features:

large size (> 5 cm);

cytologic atypia and DNA aneuploidy;

increased mitotic activity and increased MIB-1 expression;

necrosis;

vascular invasion infiltrative margins;

extension beyond the testicular parenchyma.

The tumour presents as a painless enlarged testis or as an incidental US finding accompanied in up to 80% of cases by hormonal disorders. Serum tumour markers are negative and approximately 30% of patients present with gynaecomastia. These tumours are often treated by inguinal orchiectomy because they are misinterpreted as germ cell tumours. In patients with symptoms of gynaecomastia or hormonal disorders or typical imaging on US, until final histology is available, a partial orchiectomy (+ frozen section) should be considered. In the case of histological signs of malignancy, orchiectomy and RPLND are the treatment of choice

Sertoli cell tumours

Sertoli cell tumours are malignant in 10-22% of cases.

Morphological signs of malignancy are:

large size (> 5 cm);

pleomorphic nuclei with nucleoli;

increased mitotic activity;

necrosis and vascular invasion.

They present either as an enlarged testis or as incidental US finding. Hormonal disorders are infrequent and serum tumour markers are negative. Ultrasonographically, they generally appear as hypoechoic and cannot be safely distinguished from germ-cell tumour except for the subtype large cell calcifying form which is usually associated with genetic syndromes (Carney’s complex, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome). Sertoli cell tumours are often interpreted as germ-cell tumours and an orchiectomy is performed.

Organ-sparing surgery should be considered (with caution) but, in the case of histological signs of malignancy, orchiectomy and RPLND are the treatment of choice.

Conclusions

Most testis tumours are diagnosed at an early stage. Staging is the cornerstone. The 2017 TNM system is recommended for classification and staging purposes.

The IGCCCG staging system is recommended for metastatic disease. Following orchiectomy, excellent cure rates are achieved for those early stages irrespective of the treatment policy adopted, although pattern and relapse rates are closely linked to the treatment modality chosen. In metastatic disease a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach offers an acceptable survival. Follow-up schedules should be tailored to initial staging and treatment.

This short booklet text is based on the more comprehensive EAU Guidelines (ISBN 978-90-79754-91-5), available to all members of the European Association of Urology at their website: http://www.uroweb.org/guidelines/.

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