BACKGROUND: Comprehensive data on late relapse (LR) and very LR (VLR) in patients with clinical stage I (CS-1) testicular cancer followed on surveillance are missing. These data are essential for planning optimal follow-up.
OBJECTIVE: Assess incidence and outcome of LR (>2 yr) and VLR (>5 yr) in a large cohort of CS-1 surveillance patients, and examine differences in the clinical characteristics of patients with early relapse (ER), LR, and VLR.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: CS-1 surveillance patients diagnosed between 1984 and 2007 were identified from the retrospective Danish Testicular Cancer (DaTeCa) database.
OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: We estimated survival and relapse probabilities and compared the results using log-rank tests and Cox regression analyses. We compared differences in patient characteristics by using χ(2), Fisher exact, and Mann-Whitney tests.
RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Our study included 3366 (2000 seminoma and 1366 nonseminoma) patients. Median follow-up was 15 yr. Five-year conditional risk of LR was 5.0% and 2.1% for seminoma and nonseminoma patients, respectively. There were no significant differences in disease-specific or overall survival when comparing the LR(VLR) and ER patients by log-rank, but Cox regression adjusted for age showed a significant effect of time to relapse on survival for seminoma patients. Apart from significantly more ER nonseminoma patients with elevated human chorionic gonadotropin at relapse, there were no significant differences in patient characteristics at orchiectomy or relapse. Limitations include retrospective design and exclusion of patients who had been offered adjuvant therapy.
CONCLUSIONS: The risk of VLR is minimal, and the patients carry a good prognosis. Patient characteristics of CS-1 surveillance patients with LR(VLR) do not differ significantly from patients with ER.
PATIENT SUMMARY: We compared stage I testicular cancer surveillance patients with early relapse (ER) versus late relapse (LR; >2 yr). LR patients as a group did no worse than ER patients, although increased time to relapse was negatively associated with survival for seminoma patients.