Testicular Cancer Clinical Trials and research is available for those who are interested in participating. Through research we can better understand what testicular cancer is, what causes testicular cancer, and hopefully one day, have a cure for it.
Additionally, participation in clinical trials is an important treatment option for many men with testicular cancer. To develop new treatments, and better ways to use current treatments, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is sponsoring clinical trials (research studies with people) in many hospitals and cancer centers around the country. Clinical trials are a critical step in the development of new methods of treatment. Before any new treatment can be recommended for general use, doctors conduct clinical trials to find out whether the treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease.
People interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) (see below) at 1–800–4–CANCER and in the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies, which can be found at http://www.cancer.gov/publications on the Internet. This booklet describes how research studies are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks. Further information about clinical trials is available at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials on the NCI's Web site. The Web site offers detailed information about specific ongoing studies by linking to PDQ®, the NCI's comprehensive cancer information database. The CIS also provides information from PDQ.
What's New in Testicular Cancer Research and Treatment?
Important research into testicular cancer is being done in many university hospitals, medical centers, and other institutions around the country. Each year, scientists find out more about what causes the disease, how to prevent it, and how to improve treatment.
Scientists are studying the changes in DNA of testicular cancer cells to learn more about the causes of this disease. Their hope is that improved understanding will lead to even more effective treatment. Also, a better understanding of the genetic changes will help doctors decide which patients need further treatment and which can be safely treated with surgery alone.
Clinical trials have refined doctors' approaches to treating these cancers and are expected to answer additional questions. For example, studies have identified factors to help predict which patients have a particularly good prognosis and may not need lymph node surgery or radiation therapy. Studies also have found unfavorable prognostic factors that suggest certain patients may benefit from more intensive treatment.
New drugs and new drug combinations are being tested for patients with recurrent cancer. Stem cell transplantation is being studied as a strategy for helping men who have tumors with a poor prognosis tolerate more intensive chemotherapy. And chemotherapy combinations are being refined to see if eliminating certain drugs, replacing them with others, or lowering doses can reduce side effects for some men without reducing the effectiveness of treatment.
Recent studies have found that men who are HIV-positive have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer. Because of modern drug therapy of the HIV infection, most of these men can be cured using standard treatment (orchiectomy, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy) and can have an improved quality of life despite their HIV status.
As more and more young men are surviving testicular cancer, fertility has become an increasingly important consideration. Advances in assisted reproduction methods such as in vitro fertilization have made fatherhood possible for testicular cancer survivors, even if their sperm counts are extremely low. In some cases, sperm cells removed from a testicular biopsy specimen can be successful when other options have failed.
By the American Cancer Society®