New research shows a significant improvement in treatment for a specific type of testicular cancer called stage I seminoma. Stage I seminoma is typically treated by removal of the testicle followed by radiation. Radiation, though, poses a risk of developing a second cancer in another organ up to 20 years later.
Researchers randomized more than 540 patients to receive a single course of the drug carboplatin and more than 900 patients to receive radiation, which is the standard of care. The carboplatin group received one dose in one day, a protocol designed to treat ovarian cancer. The drug works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells, which eventually are destroyed.
After about three years, researchers found no difference in tumor control between the two groups, but that the single dose of carboplatin led to a reduced occurrence of a second tumor. At follow-up, there was only one second tumor noted in the carboplatin group and seven cases of second tumors noted in the radiation therapy group.
Thus researchers say that their trial shows that one shot of carboplatin in the short term is as safe as radiation, is less toxic, and might open the ways to using chemotherapy for testis conservation.