CONTACT: DAN MCMILLAN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6835; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: July 24, 2000
UI participates in multi-national study of testicular
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Researchers in the University of
Iowa College of Public Health were part of a multi-national team of investigators
that found that the curative potential of treating testicular cancer with
radiation or chemotherapy far exceeds the small risk of leukemia associated
with these treatments.
The study results are reported in the July 19 issue
of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by Lois Travis, M.D., Sc.D.,
of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues including Charles F. Lynch,
M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of epidemiology and medical director of the Iowa
In a large majority of cases, testicular cancer is
curable using surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy, often in combination.
However, clinicians have been concerned that radiation and chemotherapy may
contribute to the development of secondary leukemia, which has a high mortality
An investigation of secondary leukemia was undertaken
within a group of 18,567 testicular cancer patients diagnosed between 1970
and 1993 and who survived at least one year. These patients were reported
to population-based cancer registries, including the Iowa Cancer Registry,
in the United States, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland.
Of this large group of men, 36 developed leukemia.
"Cancer surveillance studies of this type require
access to millions of cases in order to be valid," Lynch said. "Because of
its high-quality data, the Iowa Cancer Registry is one of a few registries
in the world that participate in such studies."
The researchers conclude that while physicians should
be mindful of the possible late toxicity of treatment of testicular cancer,
the relatively low excess risk of leukemia associated with current
treatments is reassuring. Of 10,000 testicular cancer patients treated
with standard radiotherapy to the abdomen and pelvis and followed for 15 years,
an excess of nine to 11 leukemias might be expected;
chemotherapy might result in up to 16 excess leukemias over a comparable period.
Thus, they conclude that the substantial improvement in survival resulting
from modern treatment far exceeds any small absolute excess risk of
NOTE TO EDITORS: The Journal of the National Cancer
Institute contributed to this news release.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership
between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the
patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.