Among men with Stage I seminoma (a type of testicular cancer), post-surgery treatment with a single dose of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin is as effective as two to three weeks of radiation therapy, and also reduces the risk of cancer in the other testicle.
Patients with Stage I seminoma have a primary cancer that is limited to the testes. This stage of seminoma is curable in more than 95% of individuals.
The primary treatment of Stage I seminoma by a specialist cancer centre is to do a a surgical removal of the cancer by orchiectomy. Following surgery patients may receive additional treatment (such as radiation therapy) to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence or close surveillance to detect recurrence at an early stage.
Although radiation therapy is a standard treatment option, some studies have suggested that one or two doses of chemotherapy may be equally as effective. Chemotherapy may also offer the advantage of being more convenient and better tolerated.
To compare radiation therapy to a single dose of chemotherapy, researchers conducted a clinical trial among 1,477 men with Stage I seminoma. After surgery, the men were assigned to receive additional treatment with either two to three weeks of daily radiation therapy or a single dose of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin.
- Risk of cancer recurrence was similar in the two study groups: 5% of men in the chemotherapy group and 4% of men in the radiation therapy group experienced a cancer recurrence.
- Men in the chemotherapy group were less likely than men in the radiation therapy group to develop cancer in the opposite testicle.
- Men in the chemotherapy group were also less likely to report feeling lethargic as a result of treatment.
These results suggest that men with Stage I seminoma have more than one effective option for reducing the risk of cancer recurrence.