BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To identify an appropriate surveillance program for men with clinical stage I non-seminomatous germ cell tumors of the testis (NSGCT).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A systematic review of the published literature was combined with a consensus process, around the interpretation of the evidence in the context of conventional practice, to develop an evidence-based practice guideline.
RESULTS: No randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing surveillance schedules were found, but data from 12 case series and one RCT which compared radiotherapy with surveillance were reviewed. Variations in the schedules were not associated with observed variations in relapse, salvage, or survival rates.
CONCLUSIONS: Men with clinical stage I testicular cancer, as defined by a normal physical examination, normal radiological scans (computed tomography [CT]) and serum markers (alpha-fetoprotein [AFP] and beta-subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (βHCG) which are normal or fall within normal limits during their expected half-lives, are eligible for surveillance. A recommended surveillance schedule is as follows: 1) Physical examination, blood serum marker tests (AFP and HCG), and chest x-rays should be conducted every month in the first year, every 2 months in the second year, every 3 months in the third year, and every 6 months in the fourth and fifth years; and 2) CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis should be conducted every 3 months in the first year, every 4 to 6 months in the second year and every 6 months in the third year, and once a year in the fourth and fifth year.