The stage I yolk sac tumor of testis in children younger than 2 years, chemotherapy or not?

Hsi Che Liu, Der Cherng Liang, Shu Huey Chen, Fang Ling Liu, Pei Yeh Chang, Jin Cherng Sheu, Nien Lu Wang

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Yolk sac tumor is the most frequent germ cell tumor of testis in children. For stage I yolk sac tumor of testis in children younger than 2 years, high inguinal orchiectomy alone has been the standard treatment, with a cure rate of at least 75%. Here, we compare the treatment results of receiving chemotherapy or no chemotherapy after orchiectomy, to analyze the role of chemotherapy. From February 1987 to January 1997, 22 children younger than 2 years, with stage I yolk sac tumor of testis, were included in the study. All patients had high inguinal orchiectomy without retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy. Initial diagnostic imaging studies included computed tomographic scan of abdomen, chest radiography, and long bone survey. Clinical stage I was defined as a tumor completely resected with no evidence of local regional lymph node involvement or distant metastases. Serum alpha- fetoprotein (AFP) was assessed at diagnosis. After orchiectomy, diagnosis, and staging; patients were stratified into two treatment groups, with or without chemotherapy, according to the decision of the parents. Ten children received chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin (PVB, modified 'Einhorn regimen') for 12 weeks. The remaining 12 patients were followed up according to a 'wait and see' policy. Determination of AFP was performed monthly during the first postoperative year, every other month during the second year, every 3 months during the third year, every 6 months during the fourth year, and yearly until the fifth postoperative year at least. The duration of follow-up ranged from 3 months to 119 months (median, 53 months). The Kaplan-Meier plot estimated an overall survival rate of 91.6% at 7 years after diagnosis. Among the 12 patients without chemotherapy, 2 children had relapses at 4 and 6 months after diagnosis, respectively. One was cured with PVB chemotherapy. The other patient died with refractory lung metastasis, in spite of intensive multimodality salvage therapy. The Kaplan- Meier plot showed a survival rate of 80% at 7 years and a relapse-free survival rate of 81.8% at 5 years after diagnosis. All children receiving chemotherapy were alive and free from relapse. There was no significant treatment-related toxicity. Our results may suggest that PVB chemotherapy after orchiectomy is an effective and safe regimen for stage I yolk sac tumor of testis in children younger than 2 years. Instead of four courses of PVB as used here, two or three courses could be enough. To elucidate the necessity for chemotherapy and to determine the number of courses of PVB needed (if chemotherapy is given), a randomized study of more cases is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-228
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Hematology and Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Children younger than 2 years
  • Orchiectomy
  • Testis
  • Yolk sac tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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