While chemotherapy is widely considered an effective means of treating testicular cancer, it doesn’t come without side effects. Now, researchers in London say they’ve developed a test that may be able to accurately predict relapse risk.
If the test becomes the norm, it would allow low-risk men to avoid chemotherapy, opting instead to monitor their health.
The test focuses on several features of non-seminomatous germ cell tumors (a common testicular cancer). This includes whether or not the tumor has blood vessels, the appearance of cancer stem cells, and more. When these factors were taken into consideration, researchers say the test was able to accurately predict which men were at the highest risk for relapse.
The study included 177 tumor samples. Researchers found that in the group that the test determined to be high risk, 70 percent indeed experienced a relapse.
“Patients with stage 1 testicular cancer face the difficult choice of being monitored in case their cancer returns or having chemotherapy straight away,” says study leader Janet Shipley, a professor at The Institute of Cancer Research in London. “Our research has identified an improved way of predicting which men with the non-seminoma type of testicular cancer are at high risk of their cancer returning.”
Shipley adds that the best choice for men who are deemed low risk would be to avoid chemo, while high-risk men should be offered curative chemotherapy.
“To validate the use of this test, we now need to assess larger numbers of men in the clinic,” Shipley adds.