Monitoring early-stage testicular cancer survivors for disease recurrence after surgery using either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or fewer computed tomography (CT) scans is just as effective as more frequent intervals, researchers reported in study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In a phase III randomized, controlled trial, researchers investigated whether fewer scans or a radiation-free method would be safer but equally effective options for patients who underwent surgery for early-stage testicular cancer. They randomized 669 patients to one of the following approaches:

  • Seven CT scans over five years
  • Seven MRI scans over three years
  • Three CT scans over three years
  • Three MRI scans over three years

After a median follow-up of six years, the researchers found that patients who received the MRI scans and fewer CT scans had comparable outcomes to patients who had more scans. Overall survival at five years was 99% with no tumor-related deaths.

“By using MRI instead of CT and/or reducing the number of scans, we can still detect relapses at an early stage when they can be successfully treated,” the researchers said. “These approaches can reduce exposure to potentially harmful radiation for these patients while still providing effective monitoring in case their cancers return.”