Significance of elevated preoperative alpha-fetoprotein in postchemotherapy residual tumor resection for the disseminated germ cell tumors.J Surg Oncol. 2006 Dec 01; 94(7):619-23.JS
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
The purpose of the study is to determine the significance of elevated serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in the setting prior to residual tumor resection (RTR) following chemotherapy for metastatic germ cell tumor in terms of the prediction of histology of the specimen and postoperative survival.
We conducted a retrospective review of 68 patients undergoing RTR for metastatic nonseminomatous germ cell tumor or extragonadal germ cell tumor after at least a first-line chemotherapy. Pretreatment and postchemotherapy serum markers were evaluated in association with other clinical findings including results of pathological examination of RTR specimen and surgical outcome.
Of the 68 study patients, 54 (79%) and 45 (66%) had positive AFP and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-HCG) in pretreatment settings. Rates of presence of residual malignant cell in RTR specimen were similar between patients with normal AFP (7/28 or 25%) and with mildly elevated (10-30 ng/ml) AFP (3/11 or 27%). In 26 patients who had residual viable malignancy in RTR specimen, patients with preoperative positive AFP had significantly better survival (P = 0.02) compared to those with preoperative positive beta-HCG.
Sole and mild elevation of AFP is not always associated with postoperative poor prognosis. It should be carefully considered individually whether a mild elevation of AFP after chemotherapy represents residual malignancy or benign pathogenesis.