Clinical outcome of post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in metastatic nonseminomatous germ cell tumour: A systematic review

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2020 Jun;46(6):999-1005. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2020.02.035. Epub 2020 Feb 26.


Post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (PC-RPLND) is an important element of the management of patients with residual tumour after chemotherapy for disseminated nonseminomatous germ cell tumour (NSGCT). This is a challenging procedure and the outcome varies widely between institutions. There is much debate concerning the anatomical extent of the dissection and the literature is conflicting regarding the outcome of this procedure. In this systematic review we aim to summarise the literature on the relapse rate of PC-RPLND. We performed a search of the literature of the PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase databases, in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Studies reporting on the relapse rate of PC-RPLND in NSGCT patients with residual tumour were eligible for inclusion. We calculated the weighted average relapse rates of included studies and assessed the risk of bias using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. A total of 33 studies, reporting on 2,379 patients undergoing open PC-RPLND (O-RPLND) and 463 patients undergoing minimally invasive PC-RPLND (MI-RPLND) were included. The weighted average relapse rates were 11.4% for O-RPLND, and 3.0% for MI-RPLND. The rates of retroperitoneal relapse were 4.6% and 1.7% after O-RPLND and MI-RPLND, respectively. For O-RPLND specifically, the average retroperitoneal relapse rate was 3.1% after modified dissection and 6.1% after bilateral dissection. We conclude that modified template dissection is oncologically safe in carefully selected patients. Minimally invasive procedures are feasible but long-term data on the oncological outcome are still lacking. PC-RPLND is a complex and challenging procedure, and patients should be treated at high-volume expert centres.

Keywords: Lymph node excision; Nonseminomatous germ cell tumor; Relapse rate; Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection; Systematic review; Testicular germ cell tumor.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Lymph Node Excision / methods*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / secondary
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy*
  • Retroperitoneal Space
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Testicular Neoplasms / secondary
  • Testicular Neoplasms / therapy*

Supplementary concepts

  • Nonseminomatous germ cell tumor