Purpose: The optimal management of bilateral testicular tumors continues to evolve. We examined the incidence, characteristics, histology, treatment and clinical outcomes of patients with bilateral testicular cancer.
Materials and methods: Between 1950 and 2001, 3,984 patients with testicular cancer were treated at our center. A total of 58 patients with bilateral testicular germ cell tumors were identified. The clinical records of these 58 patients were reviewed for age, histology of the 2 tumors, stage at presentation of the first and second tumor, interval between tumors, treatment and clinical outcome. Median followup was 60 months.
Results: Ten of the 58 patients (17%) had synchronous tumors, while the other 48 (83%) had metachronous tumors with a median interval between tumors of 50.5 months. Overall seminoma was the most common histology of the synchronous and metachronous tumors. Most patients in the synchronous and metachronous tumor groups presented with low stage disease. Of the 58 patients 52 (89%) had no evidence of disease and 6 (11%) were dead of disease at the last followup. Treatment of the second tumor appeared to be influenced by therapy for the first tumor in 16.7% of cases.
Conclusions: Patients with a history of testicular germ cell tumor require careful long-term monitoring of the contralateral testicle due to the risk of bilateral disease and potentially long latent period between the first and second tumors. Overall the clinical outcome is good in these patients when they are treated appropriately for histology and stage. In patients with metachronous tumors treatment of the contralateral tumor is rarely altered by prior treatment of the initial tumor.