Cardiovascular disease after treatment for testicular cancer


Treatment for testicular cancer increases the risk to develop cardiovascular disease. Last week the results of a national cohort study were presented in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This study was initiated by the UMCG together with NKI-AVL and the other testicular cancer expert centers (Radboud UMC, Erasmus MC, UMC Utrecht), in a group of men who were treated between 1976 and 2007. Testicular cancer mainly occurs in men between 18 to 35 years of age. The prognosis is good, even when the disease is metastasized. Unfortunately a part of the survivors develops cardiovascular disease at a younger age than expected in the general population.

The study was performed in a carefully composed cohort with detailed follow-up data and executed by medical oncologist in training Sjoukje Lubberts. It shows that testicular cancer survivors with cardiovascular disease experience a worser quality of life compared to survivors without cardiovascular disease. Platinum-based chemotherapy, obesity, and smoking at diagnosis lead to increased cardiovascular disease risk. Survivors with a family trait for cardiovascular diseases also had an increased risk. Furthermore, development of Raynaud’s phenomena or dyslipidemia during follow-up led to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lifelong preventive care should be offered to successfully treated testicular cancer patients, especially to those who received chemotherapy. Even at diagnosis, life style improvements should be promoted, like quitting smoking and being physically active. Modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease should be checked, like dyslipidemia. The UMCG is now developing an E-health tool in the personal health environment (persoonlijke gezondheidsomgeving, PGO) of testicular cancer patients, to empower these survivors get the lead in their own follow-up and cardiovascular risk management, supported by his oncologist and general practitioner. We think that this shared-care between patient, oncologist and general practitioner is an important step towards improving the lifespan and quality of life of these young men after a successful testicular cancer treatment. This model of cancer survivorship care will be further developed to be used for the follow-up of other types of cancer patients.

“This research is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Cardiovascular Disease in Testicular Cancer Survivors: Identification of Risk Factors and Impact on Quality of Life | Journal of Clinical Oncology (

Profile foto of S. Oosting
Sjoukje Lubberts