Long-Term Cognitive Functioning in Testicular Germ-Cell Tumor Survivors

Treatment for cancer may lead to development of cognitive difficulties in cancer survivors. This study aimed to evaluate long-term cognitive functioning (CogF) in germ-cell tumor (GCT) survivors. Subjects, Materials, and Methods. GCT survivors (n = 155) from the National Cancer Institute of Slovakia completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Cognitive Function at a median of 10 years of follow-up (range: 5-32). The study group consisted of survivors receiving a cisplatin-based chemotherapy, radiotherapy to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes, or both, whereas the control group included survivors treated with orchiectomy only.

Of the total survivors, 138 received treatment beyond orchiectomy and 17 controls had orchiectomy alone. Any treatment resulted in significantly greater cognitive difficulties on the overall cognitive function score. Treatment with radiotherapy was associated with cognitive declines in overall cognitive functioning and in subscales for perceived cognitive impairment and cognitive impairment perceived by others (both p < .05). The burden of chemotherapy plus radiotherapy or radiotherapy versus controls resulted in the impairment in all cognitive functioning domains (all p < .05). Overall long-term cognitive impairment was independent of age in the multivariable analysis.

This prospective study shows that GCT survivors suffer from a long-term CogF impairment. These results may help guide clinicians' decisions in treatment and follow-up of GCTs.

In this study, long-term survivors of germ-cell tumors have reported cognitive impairment after curative treatment with radiotherapy and chemotherapy compared with controls who had treatment with orchiectomy only. These data provide an argument against the use of adjuvant radiotherapy for stage I seminoma. Unnecessary overtreatment with chemotherapy and additional radiotherapy after chemotherapy should be avoided.

The oncologist. 2018 Jan 19 [Epub ahead of print]

Michal Chovanec, Lucia Vasilkova, Lucia Setteyova, Jana Obertova, Patrik Palacka, Katarina Rejlekova, Zuzana Sycova-Mila, Katarina Kalavska, Daniela Svetlovska, Silvia Cingelova, Beata Mladosievicova, Jozef Mardiak, Michal Mego

2nd Department of Oncology, Comenius University, Faculty of Medicine & National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic., Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovak Republic., Department of Pathophysiology, Comenius University, Faculty of Medicine, Bratislava, Slovak Republic., Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic., Translational Research Unit, 2nd Department of Oncology, Comenius University, Faculty of Medicine & National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic., 2nd Department of Oncology, Comenius University, Faculty of Medicine & National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic .

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