This study was prompted by a hypothesis that testicular germ cell cancer may be aetiologically linked to other male reproductive abnormalities as a part of the so-called 'testicular dysgenesis syndrome' (TDS). To corroborate the hypothesis of a common association of germ cell cancer with testicular dysgenesis, microscopic dysgenetic features were quantified in contralateral testicular biopsies in patients with a testicular germ cell tumour. Two hundred and eighty consecutive contralateral testicular biopsies from Danish patients with testicular cancer diagnosed in 1998-2001 were evaluated retrospectively. Two hundred and eighteen specimens were subsequently included in this study, after 63 patients who did not meet inclusion criteria had to be excluded. The presence of carcinoma in situ (which is believed to originate from transformed gonocytes) was detected in 8.7% of biopsies. The incidence of other dysgenetic features was immature tubules with undifferentiated Sertoli cells, 4.6%; microcalcifications (microliths), 6.0%; and the presence of a Sertoli-cell-only pattern in at least a few tubules, 13.8%. The cumulative incidence of one or more signs of testicular dysgenesis was 25.2%. In a few patients, areas with immature and morphologically distorted tubules were also noted. Spermatogenesis was qualitatively normal in 51.4%, whereas 11.5% had very poor or absent spermatogenesis. It is concluded that microscopic testicular dysgenesis is a frequent feature in contralateral biopsies from patients presenting with testicular germ cell neoplasms of the adolescent and young type. The findings therefore support the hypothesis that this cancer is part of a testicular dysgenesis syndrome. The presence of contralateral carcinoma in situ was higher in the present study than previously reported.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.