A research team has developed a test that will be able to tell which patient is at risk of experiencing a relapse of testicular cancer. The test, according to the researchers, will be able to predict an individual’s chances of having a relapse of testicular cancer just by assessing three features of a frequently occurring form of the disease called non-seminomatous germ cell tumor. The test will work even when there’s no proof of tumor spread.
According to the researchers involved in the process of developing the new cancer test, this procedure can be used for deciding whether a patient with non-seminomatous germ cell tumor should be given chemotherapy or not.
Researchers representing The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London analyzed a total of 177 tumor samples collected from patients diagnosed with stage I non-seminomatous germ cell tumors. All those patients got enrolled in clinical trials via the MRC (Medical Research Council) Clinical Trials Unit. MRC also funded the work along with National Cancer Research Institute’s Testis Cancer Clinical Studies Group.
The researchers from ICR spotted that there are three features of these tumors that act as important indicators of relapse chances. They are levels of CXCL12, whether the tumors have blood vessels and last, but not least, the percentage of the tumor boasting visible cancer stem cells.
The tumors were given marks based on the three features mentioned above. By combining the scores, the researchers found that based their chances of experiencing a relapse within two years patients taking part in the study could be categorized into three risk groups. For those who are wondering why “two years”: it’s because usually testicular cancer doesn’t relapse beyond this time frame.
The researchers found that most patients belonged to the low-risk group. In this group, as much as 93.4% patients remained relapse-free during the two-year period. Among patients belonging to the moderate-risk group 65.9% remains relapse free. Among patients in the high-risk group, on the other hand, just 30% remained relapse free.
The test was validated by the researchers even in another group of 80 testicular cancer patients representing the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
This test can turn out to be extremely helpful as statistics suggests that testicular germ cell tumors are the most frequently occurring malignant solid tumors among young Caucasians