Complications of primary nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for clinical stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testis: experience of the German Testicular Cancer Study Group.

Nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection has been the standard diagnostic and therapeutic approach to clinical stage I nonseminoma. However, the application of prognostic risk factors and introduction of laparoscopy have recently called into question the clinical usefulness of nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. We assessed the therapeutic efficacy and associated complications of this procedure in patients with clinical stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumor treated at 7 tertiary referral centers to evaluate its role in the modern management of low stage testis cancer.
Between January 1995 and September 2000, 239 patients with clinical stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumor underwent nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in standardized fields of dissection. For retrospective analysis patient charts were reviewed. A minor complication did not prolong hospital stay and a major complication prolonged hospitalization for at least 2 days. Early complications developed within the first 30 days after retroperitoneal lymph node dissection and late complications occurred from postoperative day 31 and thereafter.
Nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection was performed unilaterally in 209 patients (88.2%) and bilaterally in 30 (11.8%). Median operative time was 214 minutes (range 90 to 395), mean hospital stay was 8 days (range 4 to 39) and mean blood loss was less than 150 ml. A mean of 18.5 lymph nodes (range 9 to 57) were dissected with metastases detected in 67 patients (28%). An average of 2.9 lymph nodes (range 1 to 14) with a mean diameter of 2.6 cm. (range 0.3 to 6.0) showed metastasis. Disease was pathological stage I in 172 patients (71.7%), 52 (17.6%) had 3 or fewer metastatic lymph nodes, and 15 (6.3%) had 4 to 5 and 10 (4.2%) had greater than 5 positive lymph nodes. Minor complications occurred in 14.2% of the cases and major complications were observed in 5.4%. Antegrade ejaculation was preserved in 93.3% of the patients, recurrence developed in 14 (5.8%) and retroperitoneal recurrence was observed in 3 (1.2%), including 1 in field and 2 out field.
Primary diagnostic and therapeutic nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection still has a role in the primary management of clinical stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumor. Surgery is associated with low morbidity and patient followup is easy and cost-effective due to the concentration on extraretroperitoneal locations. Primary nerve sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection is curative in about 70% of clinical stage I nonseminoma cases with a maximum of 3 positive lymph nodes.
AuthorsAxel Heidenreich, Peter Albers, Michael Hartmann, Sabine Kliesch, Kai-Uwe Kohrmann, Susanne Krege, Philipp Lossin, Lothar Weissbach,
JournalThe Journal of urology (J Urol) Vol. 169 Issue 5 Pg. 1710-4 (May 2003) ISSN: 0022-5347 [Print] United States
PMID12686815 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Multicenter Study)
  • Adult
  • Germany
  • Germinoma (pathology, surgery)
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Complications (epidemiology)
  • Lymph Node Excision (adverse effects, methods)
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local (epidemiology)
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Postoperative Complications (epidemiology)
  • Retroperitoneal Space
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Testicular Neoplasms (pathology, surgery)
  • Testis (innervation)

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