Cary C., Pedrosa J.A., Jacob J., Beck S.D.W., Rice K.R., Einhorn L.H., Foster R.S.
BACKGROUND: Characterizing the role of postchemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (PC-RPLND) after high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) has been limited by small sample sizes. This study reports on survival after HDCT with stem cell support and PC-RPLND as well as histologic findings in the retroperitoneum. METHODS: The prospectively maintained testicular cancer database of Indiana University was queried for patients receiving HDCT with stem cell transplantation before PC-RPLND. The cause and date of death were obtained through patient chart review and contact with referring physicians. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to evaluate overall survival (OS). The log-rank test was used for tests of significance. A multivariate, backward, stepwise Cox regression model was built to evaluate predictors of overall mortality. RESULTS: A total of 92 patients were included in the study. In the entire cohort, the retroperitoneal (RP) histology findings at the time of PC-RPLND were necrosis (26%), teratoma (34%), and cancer (38%). Sixty-six patients (72%) harbored either a teratoma or active cancer in the RP specimen at PC-RPLND. The median follow-up for the entire cohort was 80.6 months. A total of 28 patients (30%) died during follow-up. The 5-year OS rate of the entire cohort was 70%. The most significant predictor of death was PC-RPLND performed in the desperation setting with elevated markers. CONCLUSIONS: Despite these patients being heavily pretreated with multiple cycles of chemotherapy, including HDCT, approximately three-fourths were found to have a teratoma and/or active cancer in the retroperitoneum. This underscores the importance of PC-RPLND for rendering patients free of disease and providing a potential for cure.