Testicular Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2020

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about testicular cancer and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about testicular cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

Since treatment is successful for most people with testicular cancer, one of the major goals for the future is to reduce the side effects of treatment for people with early-stage or good-risk cancers. In addition, treatments for poor-risk and recurrent cancers are being studied in clinical trials, along with basic research on the causes and genetics of testicular cancer.

  • High-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation. Higher doses of chemotherapy can put recurrent testicular cancer into remission. A stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant) is a medical procedure in which diseased bone marrow is replaced by highly specialized cells, called hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are blood-forming cells found both in the bloodstream and in the bone marrow. For testicular cancer, the patient’s own stem cells are removed from the body before high-dose chemotherapy is given. After chemotherapy, blood stem cells are put back into the patient’s vein to replace the bone marrow and restore normal blood cell levels. Despite many studies, this has not been proven to be better than either the standard chemotherapy combination of BEP as a first-line therapy for patients with poor-risk disease or the standard chemotherapy regimens of VeIP or TIP for people who have a recurrence after BEP. Researchers are currently comparing standard chemotherapy (VeIP or TIP) to high doses of the drug combination TICE, which is paclitaxel, ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide, along with stem cell transplantation, to find out if high-dose chemotherapy works better.

  • New chemotherapy schedules. Researchers are looking into shorter schedules of BEP for people with advanced testicular cancer.

  • Genetic studies. Researchers are analyzing the DNA from tumor samples of testicular cancer to find out if any specific genes are associated with testicular cancer. In addition, there are studies underway to look at possible inherited genetic factors leading to cryptorchidism and higher risk of testicular cancer (see Risk Factors.)

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current testicular cancer treatments that can improve comfort and quality of life for patients. Because more people are surviving testicular cancer, doctors are researching the long-term effects of high-dose chemotherapy on brain function, such as memory loss, decreased speed of processing information, lowered attention span, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Other studies focus on sperm quality and heart disease risk for testicular cancer survivors.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding testicular cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance on how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.