Testicular cancer

Acta Oncol. 1988;27(4):439-53. doi: 10.3109/02841868809093570.


Testicular cancer, which predominantly occurs in young men, has become increasingly common; it is presently the most common malignancy in men aged 20-34. Despite a lack of knowledge of aetiology, empirical advances, particularly in the management of patients with advanced disease, have been dramatic. Prior to the development of effective chemotherapy in the 1970s, less than 10% of men with metastatic non-seminomatous germ cell tumours were cured; nowadays approximately 90% of patients are potentially curable. The introduction of effective chemotherapy has led to a reappraisal of surgery and radiotherapy in the management of early stage disease and the introduction of a policy of surveillance in patients without evidence of metastases at the time of removal of the primary tumour. Following chemotherapy, surgery is required in approximately 25% of patients with advanced disease to excise residual masses, which in one-fifth of cases will show evidence of residual malignancy. In a proportion of patients, testicular cancer develops on a background of long-standing infertility, whereas in many men there is temporary oligospermia, despite a previous history of fertility. The majority of patients with prior evidence of spermatogenesis recover this function following chemotherapy and there is no evidence that children fathered by such patients have an increased risk of malformation. Despite physician optimism and excellent prospects for cure, significant psycho-social morbidity is associated with the diagnosis and treatment of testicular cancer. Factors contributing to this are being identified and will lead, hopefully, to the minimisation of such problems by appropriate intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Dysgerminoma / pathology
  • Dysgerminoma / psychology
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Testicular Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Testicular Neoplasms* / psychology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Alkaline Phosphatase