Drug avoids radiation for early testicular cancer

In men who are diagnosed with earl-stage testicular cancer, a single dose of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin is as effective radiation therapy and is much less toxic, according to study findings presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

Testicular cancer is the most frequent cancer in men aged 15 to 45 years and surgery followed by radiation has been the standard of care, study leader Dr. Tim Oliver of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London noted at the conference.

“With this study, we fairly solidly confirmed” that single-dose carboplatin is an effective treatment in patients with early-stage seminoma, one of the most common types of testicular cancers.

In the study, 573 patients were randomly assigned to a single dose of carboplatin given over 1 hour on an outpatient basis and 904 to a course of daily radiotherapy given over 2 or 3 weeks.

At 5 years, the rate of cancer return was similar in the two treatment arms - 5 percent in the carboplatin arm and 4 percent in the radiation arm, Oliver reported.

Side effects were also low with both treatments, although patients treated with radiation reported higher levels of moderate to severe lethargy 4 weeks after starting treatment.

“Personal preference is becoming a more important factor in determining the best treatment for patients with testicular cancer. We’ve also seen this in prostate cancer, where there are a number of equally strong treatment options,” Oliver noted in a written statement.

“This study establishes surgery followed by carboplatin chemotherapy as a safe new alternative for patients who have early-stage seminoma and would prefer a treatment that lasts a shorter period of time,” he added.

By Megan Rauscher
NEW YORK (Reuters Health)

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