Nearly all testicular cancer patients can be cured, says an expert from Comenius University

Bratislava, 22 March, 2023: Testicular cancer is the only type of cancer with a cure rate over 95 %. Even patients with distant organ metastases can be treated with chemotherapy and specialized surgery. Testicular tumours are the most frequently occurring cancer in young men, and untreated tumours are fatal. Michal Chovanec from Comenius University Bratislava is one of the international researchers of this disease. He was recently the lead author of an invited submission to one of the most prestigious medical journals, the British Medical Journal - BMJ.

23. 03. 2023 09.27 hod.
By: CU External Relations Office

The Paper summarises the latest, most significant medical advances in Slovak and international research of testicular tumours. Our team of Slovak medical specialists and researchers is world-renowned and regularly cooperates in international expert groups, presenting their discoveries in journals and at conferences.

Our experts from the Faculty of Medicine of Comenius University significantly contributed to the knowledge of biomarkers for a more accurate prognosis of this disease. They mapped the effects of the immune system on the disease, and discovered that chemotherapy resistance is caused by malfunctions in DNA repair in the tumour and tumour stem cells. The findings helped to better identify patients with a very good or a very poor prognosis and led to several original clinical trials involving innovative drugs. Our researchers also contributed to the detection of several types of delayed effects of treatment in cured patients and are beginning to reveal the mechanisms of such toxicity at the molecular level. It turns out that disruption of the intestinal microbiome during treatment, among other reasons, can play an important role, stimulating further studies in the future.

Doctors and researchers have been systematically treating testicular tumours since the mid-1960s. The most important step towards the cure of testicular cancer was the discovery of the antitumour effect of cisplatin and the subsequent use of cisplatin in combination with other chemotherapy drugs in those patients whose prognosis was ‘incurable’. Treatment regimens using cisplatin have successfully caught on worldwide.

„Today's form of successful testicular cancer treatment is based on the improvement of chemotherapy treatment methods and the improvement of surgical techniques for the removal of residual metastases in the complex anatomical environment of the abdominal cavity, lungs, liver, brain or bones,“ explains Michal Chovanec from the 2nd. oncology clinic of the Medical Faculty and NOÚ.

Equally important are innovative diagnostic methods using imaging, such as computer tomography or magnetic resonance, as well as the discovery of new molecular markers. These help to improve our understanding of the biological nature of this disease and to search for innovative drugs for the small group of patients who do not respond well to salvage chemotherapy and are dying of the disease.

The British Medical Journal, where the study was published, is a world leader in medicine, and one of the oldest journals in this field. „It is a tremendous honour for me to provide my research perspective on today's testicular oncology. I believe that initiatives like this one can publicise and deepen our passion for medicine and for the discovery of better and safer treatments for our patients, not only those with testicular cancer,“ says lead author Michal Chovanec from CU.