A randomised trial of two vs five CT scans in the surveillance of patients with stage I non-seminomatous germ cell tumours of the testis

How often should men who have had an operation for testis cancer have a CT scan?

What was this study about?

Many men with a type of testis cancer called stage 1 non-seminomatous germ cell tumours (NSGCT) can be successfully treated with surgery, followed by regular follow up visits, which aim to keep an eye on whether the cancer has come back. A variety of tests are done at these follow-up visits, including CT scans. These are scans that take a series of X-rays and use a computer to put them together. A CT scan involves being exposed to some radiation and so doctors are reluctant to do any scans without good reason.

This trial aimed to find out how often CT scans should be done in these men, as doctors and researchers weren’t sure about this. In the trial, men were randomised to one of two groups. The first group had CT scans 3 and 12 months after their surgery. The second group had CT scans 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 months after surgery.

What difference did this study make?

This study found that it is acceptable to give CT scans to men 3 and 12 months after surgery if there is a low risk of the cancer coming back.

This trial gave doctors the research evidence to be confident about how many CT scans they needed to give to men with a low risk of NSGCT coming back.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details


Who funded the study?

The Medical Research Council.

When did it take place?

Men were recruited to take part in this study between 1998 and 2003. The results of the study were published in 2007.

Who was included?

414 men with stage 1 NSGCT were recruited from 32 hospitals in the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand.