OBJECTIVE: To assess the clinical and pathological findings of patients treated by bilateral retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) after chemotherapy, to identify a subset for whom modified template nodal resection might be contemplated, as bilateral RPLND is the treatment of choice in patients with residual retroperitoneal disease after chemotherapy for nonseminomatous germ-cell tumour (GCT). PATIENTS AND METHODS: The medical records were reviewed of 50 consecutive patients who had RPLND after chemotherapy between 1996 and 2005. Bilateral template RPLND was performed uniformly. Extracted lymph nodes were surgically stratified into three distinct anatomical zones by two sagittal planes running in front of the aorta and the inferior vena cava. The pathological findings were correlated with the side of the primary lesion and the extent of metastatic disease before chemotherapy. RESULTS: Pathological assessment of the resected lymph nodes revealed teratoma in 28 patients (56%), viable carcinoma in three (6%), and necrosis or fibrosis in 19 (38%). All clinical stage Is, IIA and IIB left-sided primary tumours followed a predictable pattern of spread constricted to a modified left-sided template. Patients with clinical stage IIC and III, or right-sided primary tumour, had a less predictable metastatic pattern, having crossover metastases to the contralateral template. CONCLUSION: Bilateral RPLND should be considered as the reference standard in patients with metastatic GCT and residual retroperitoneal mass after completing chemotherapy. However, the present data suggest that a modified template dissection might be considered even after chemotherapy in patients with left-sided primary tumours and limited nodal involvement at presentation.
- Modified template
- Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection
- Testicular cancer