Post chemotherapy residual masses in germ cell tumour patients

What can the cells of men with testis cancer which remain after chemotherapy tell us about how the cancer will develop?

What was this study about?

This was a retrospective study, looking at men who were diagnosed with a type of testicular cancer called a nonseminomatous germ cell testicular tumour (NSGCT) which had spread to other parts of the body, and who were treated with chemotherapy. After the chemotherapy, all of the men in this study had some tumours which had not disappeared completely (called residual masses). Tumours can sometimes continue to shrink after chemotherapy, and also many residual masses do not contain cancer cells – but surgery after chemotherapy can be difficult. Therefore, residual masses are not always removed completely. In this study, men who had surgery to remove some or all of their residual masses were included. Doctors looked at tissue from the surgery through a microscope (this is called histopathology).

What difference did this study make?

This study confirmed that it is important to remove as much of the residual tumour as possible. It also showed that if malignant cancer cells are found in the residual masses, there is quite a high chance that the cancer will come back, even if has been completely removed by surgery.

This study helped doctors understand some of the things that make it more likely that cancer will come back in men with residual masses after a course of chemotherapy. It therefore identified which patients might benefit from some additional chemotherapy after their surgery.

Type of study

Observational study

Contact details


Who funded the study?

The Medical Research Council.

When did it take place?

Information was collected about men who were treated between 1982 and 1986. The results of this study were published in 1998.

Who was included?

Starting with the 795 men who took part in the TE07 study, this study collected further information on the 153 men who had surgery after their chemotherapy.