Single drug treatment a viable option to radiation for early testicular cancer

The results of research into early testicular cancer has found that a single chemotherapy treatment is just as effective as radiation therapy while much less toxic.

The researchers from St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London have found that for men diagnosed with early-stage seminoma, one of the most common types of testicular cancer, a single dose of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin is an effective treatment.

The study leader Dr. Tim Oliver says testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15 to 45 years and surgery followed by radiation has been the usual treatment.

For the study, 573 patients with testicular cancer were randomly assigned to a single dose of carboplatin given over 1 hour on an outpatient basis while the other 904 were given daily radiotherapy over a 2 or 3 week period.

Dr. Oliver says 5 years later the rate of the cancer reappearing was similar in the two groups - 5 percent in the carboplatin arm and 4 percent in the radiation group.

With both groups the side effects were few but the patients treated with radiation experienced higher levels of moderate to severe lethargy 4 weeks after starting the treatment.

Dr. Oliver says with testicular cancer as with prostate cancer, personal preference regarding treatment is becoming a more important factor in determining what is best for the patient.

He says the study establishes that surgery followed by carboplatin chemotherapy is a safe new alternative for patients who have early-stage seminoma and want a treatment that lasts a shorter period of time.

The research was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

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