Adolescent and adult risk factors for testicular cancer

Nat Rev Urol. 2012 Apr 17;9(6):339-49. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2012.61.


The incidence of testicular cancer has been increasing over the past several decades in many developed countries. The reasons for the increases are unknown because the risk factors for the disease are poorly understood. Some research suggests that in utero exposures, or those in early childhood, are likely to be important in determining an individual's level of risk. However, other research suggests that exposure to various factors in adolescence and adulthood is also linked to the development of testicular cancer. Of these, two adult occupational exposures-fire fighting and aircraft maintenance--and one environmental exposure (to organochlorine pesticides) are likely to be associated with increased risk of developing testicular cancer. By contrast, seven of the identified factors--diet, types of physical activity, military service, police work as well as exposure to ionizing radiation, electricity and acrylamide--are unlikely to increase the risk of developing testicular cancer. Finally, seven further exposures--to heat, polyvinyl chloride, nonionizing radiation, heavy metals, agricultural work, pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls as well as marijuana use--require further study to determine their association with testicular cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / etiology*


  • Pesticides