A total of 80 patients with stage B3 or B2/C germ cell testis tumors underwent computerized tomography before and after chemotherapy. The volume and computerized tomographic density of metastatic retroperitoneal tumor were measured on all scans. The patients then underwent full bilateral retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy. The change in volume and density of retroperitoneal disease was correlated with the histological type of the primary testis tumor and with the histological findings at retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy. In all 15 patients (100 per cent) without teratomatous elements in the original tumor and who had a greater than 90 per cent decrease in the volume of retroperitoneal masses as a response to systemic chemotherapy no teratoma or active cancer was found in the surgical specimen. In contrast, 7 of 9 patients (78 per cent) with teratomatous elements in the original specimen had either teratoma or carcinoma in the retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy specimens despite having a greater than 90 per cent decrease in tumor volume. This difference was significant (p less than 0.05). These data suggest that patients with no teratomatous elements in the original specimen and a greater than 90 per cent decrease in the volume of retroperitoneal masses in response to chemotherapy can be observed carefully for signs of recurrence rather than undergoing post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy.
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