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Management of stage II nonseminomatous germ cell tumors

Timothy D Gilligan, MD
Philip W Kantoff, MD
Section Editor
William K Oh, MD
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


Testicular cancers, 95 percent of which are germ cell tumors (GCTs), are one of the most curable solid tumors. Testicular GCTs are more sensitive to systemic chemotherapy than most adult solid tumors. Chemotherapy is routinely administered with curative intent for men with metastatic seminomas or nonseminomatous germ cell tumors (NSGCTs; ie, stage III disease (table 1A-B)) and for those with persistently elevated serum tumor markers following orchiectomy (stage Is).

The management of stage II NSGCTs requires an understanding of the appropriate roles of chemotherapy and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. In addition to chemotherapy, a curative approach to testicular cancer often requires surgery, in part because primary and metastatic tumors may contain teratoma, which is less prone to dissemination but more resistant to chemotherapy than other GCT histologies. (See "Serum tumor markers in testicular germ cell tumors".)

The management of stage II NSGCTs following orchiectomy will be reviewed here. An overview of the management of testicular cancer and the management of other stages of testicular cancer are discussed separately. (See "Overview of the treatment of testicular germ cell tumors" and "Management of stage I nonseminomatous germ cell tumors" and "Initial risk-stratified treatment for advanced testicular germ cell tumors".)


Stage II disease refers to cancers that have spread to the regional (ie, retroperitoneal) lymph nodes without distant metastases or marked elevation of serum tumor markers (S0 or S1) (table 1A-B). (See 'Serum tumor markers' below.)

Stage II disease can be defined based on either imaging criteria combined with clinical judgment (clinical stage II) or a histopathologic analysis showing germ cell tumor (GCT) in lymph nodes resected during a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND; pathologic stage II). (See 'Clinical stage II NSGCT' below and 'Pathologic stage II NSGCT' below.)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 03, 2017.
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