We analyzed the case histories of 31 patients who initially had a diagnosis of seminoma and elevated serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein or human chorionic gonadotropin. We concluded that an elevated alpha-fetoprotein level is firm evidence of the presence of non-seminomatous germ cell tumor and that the patient should be treated accordingly. However, if the level of human chorionic gonadotropin alone is elevated the diagnosis may be either non-seminomatous tumor or seminoma. Patients with seminoma and an elevated level of human chorionic gonadotropin do respond well to radiation therapy if they have low stage disease but if metastatic seminoma is present an elevated human chorionic gonadotropin level appears to be a poor prognostic sign if conventional treatment is given. A plan of treatment is proposed for these patients.
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