The role of diagnostic imaging in the primary testicular cancer: initial staging, response assessment and surveillance
Testicular cancers are a group of uncommon malignancies that account for less than 1% of new cancer cases per year in the United States and globally. The disease typically affects men between the ages of 20–44, and the overwhelming majority of tumors are germ cell in origin. Most cases of testicular cancer are organ confined at diagnosis and have a good overall prognosis. Testicular cancers are staged by the tumor, node, metastasis, serum markers (TNMS) classification set forth by the American Joint Commission on Cancer staging. Diagnostic imaging plays a crucial role in initial staging, specifically in assessing the primary tumor prior to orchiectomy and evaluating for regional and/or distant metastasis. Multimodality imaging is used for initial staging, with ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) most commonly utilized. Diagnostic imaging is also important in evaluating response in patients who initially present with metastatic disease as well as in patients who are undergoing surveillance. Typically, CT is used for response assessment and surveillance, with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) serving as adjunct modalities. This article reviews the role of various diagnostic imaging modalities and how they are employed in the diagnosis, staging, response assessment and surveillance of primary testicular cancer.