On thin ice: barriers to adoption of surveillance for patients with stage I testicular seminoma. Survey of US radiation oncologists

Vol. 44 (3): 452-460, May – June, 2018

doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2017.0454


Aditya Jain 1,2, Catherine Degnin 2, Yiyi Chen 2, Mike Craycraft 3, Arthur Hung 2, Jerry Jaboin 2, Charles R. Thomas, Jr. 2, Timur Mitin 2
1 Boston University, Boston, MA, USA; 2 Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA. 3 Testicular Cancer Society, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Purpose: Most men with stage I testicular seminoma are cured with surgery alone, which is a preferred strategy per national guidelines. The current pattern of practice among US radiation oncologists (ROs) is unknown.

Materials and Methods: We surveyed practicing US ROs via an online questionnaire. Respondent’s characteristics, self-rated knowledge, perceived patient compliance rates with observation were analyzed for association with treatment recommendations.

Results: We received 353 responses from ROs, of whom 23% considered themselves experts. A vast majority (84%) recommend observation as a default strategy, however this rate drops to 3% if the patient is believed to be noncompliant. 33% of respondents believe that survival is jeopardized in case of disease recurrence, and among these respondents only 5% support observation. 22% of respondents over-estimate the likeli­hood of noncompliance with observation to be in the 50-80% range. Responders with a higher perceived noncompliance rate are more likely to recommend adjuvant therapy (Fisher’s exact p<0.01). Only 7% of respondents recommend observation for stage IS seminoma and 45% administer adjuvant RT in patients with elevated pre-orchiectomy alpha-fetal protein levels.

Conclusions: Many US ROs over-estimate the likelihood that stage I testicular semi­noma patients will be noncompliant with surveillance and incorrectly believe that overall survival is jeopardized if disease recurs on surveillance. Observation is quickly dismissed for patients who are not deemed to be compliant with observation, and is generally not accepted for patients with stage IS disease. There is clearly an oppor­tunity for improved physician education on evidence-based management of stage I testicular seminoma.

Keywords: Seminoma; Chemotherapy, Adjuvant; Radiotherapy; Health Care Surveys

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