Marital status independently predicts testis cancer survival—an analysis of the SEER database

Michael R Abern, Annie M Dude, Christopher L Coogan
Urologic Oncology 2012, 30 (4): 487-93

OBJECTIVES: Previous reports have shown that married men with malignancies have improved 10-year survival over unmarried men. We sought to investigate the effect of marital status on 10-year survival in a U.S. population-based cohort of men with testis cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined 30,789 cases of testis cancer reported to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER 17) database between 1973 and 2005. All staging were converted to the 1997 AJCC TNM system. Patients less than 18 years of age at time of diagnosis were excluded. A subgroup analysis of patients with stages I or II non-seminomatous germ cell tumors (NSGCT) was performed. Univariate analysis using t-tests and χ(2) tests compared characteristics of patients separated by marital status. Multivariate analysis was performed using a Cox proportional hazard model to generate Kaplan-Meier survival curves, with all-cause and cancer-specific mortality as the primary endpoints.

RESULTS: 20,245 cases met the inclusion criteria. Married men were more likely to be older (38.9 vs. 31.4 years), Caucasian (94.4% vs. 92.1%), stage I (73.1% vs. 61.4%), and have seminoma as the tumor histology (57.3% vs. 43.4%). On multivariate analysis, married status (HR 0.58, P < 0.001) and Caucasian race (HR 0.66, P < 0.001) independently predicted improved overall survival, while increased age (HR 1.05, P < 0.001), increased stage (HR 1.53-6.59, P < 0.001), and lymphoid (HR 4.05, P < 0.001), or NSGCT (HR 1.89, P < 0.001) histology independently predicted death. Similarly, on multivariate analysis, married status (HR 0.60, P < 0.001) and Caucasian race (HR 0.57, P < 0.001) independently predicted improved testis cancer-specific survival, while increased age (HR 1.03, P < 0.001), increased stage (HR 2.51-15.67, P < 0.001), and NSGCT (HR 2.54, P < 0.001) histology independently predicted testis cancer-specific death. A subgroup analysis of men with stages I or II NSGCT revealed similar predictors of all-cause survival as the overall cohort, with retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) as an additional independent predictor of overall survival (HR 0.59, P = 0.001), despite equal rates of the treatment between married and unmarried men (44.8% vs. 43.4%, P = 0.33).

CONCLUSIONS: Marital status is an independent predictor of improved overall and cancer-specific survival in men with testis cancer. In men with stages I or II NSGCT, RPLND is an additional predictor of improved overall survival. Marital status does not appear to influence whether men undergo RPLND.

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