Following the multidisciplinary management of metastatic germ cell tumor, approximately 10 to 15% of patients with the histologic finding of fibrosis or teratoma will suffer disease recurrence. We evaluated the prognostic significance of the total number of lymph nodes obtained at post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (PC-RPLND).
Materials and Methods
From 1989 to 2006, a total of 628 patients underwent PC-RPLND and were found to have either fibrosis or teratoma. Following Institutional Review Board approval, complete clinical and pathologic data were obtained from our prospective testis cancer surgical database. A Cox proportional hazards regression model was constructed to evaluate the association of the total number of lymph nodes obtained at PC-RPLND on disease recurrence.
On pathologic evaluation, 248 (57%) patients had fibrosis and 184 (43%) patients had teratoma. The median number of lymph nodes resected was 25 (IQ range 15, 37). On multivariable analysis, increasing post-chemotherapy nodal size and decreasing lymph node counts were significant predictors of disease recurrence (p=0.01, 0.04, respectively). For patients with 10 nodes removed, the predicted 2 year relapse free probability was 90%, compared to 97% when 50 nodes were removed.
Our data suggests that the total number of lymph nodes removed and analyzed is an independent predictor of disease recurrence following PC-RPLND. This has implications both for the urologist to assure completeness of resection and for the pathologist to meticulously assess the pathologic specimens.