Testicular adrenal rest tumors in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2012 Jun;4(2):94-100. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.563.


Objective: Early diagnosis and treatment of testicular adrenal rest tumors (TART) is important for gonadal functions and fertility protection in boys with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). In this descriptive study, we investigated the prevalence of TART in boys with 21-hydroxylase deficient (21OHD) CAH followed in our pediatric endocrine clinic.

Methods: The study group consisted of 14 male patients with a mean age of 9.6 ± 5.1 (range: 0.8-18.3) years. Six (42.9%) of the 14 patients were diagnosed as having salt-wasting type (SW) and eight (57.1%) patients - as having the simple virilizing (SV) form of 21OHD. Mean age at diagnosis was 2.9 ± 2.7 (range: 0.03-6.3) years. Two different radiologists performed scrotal ultrasonography. Chronological age, bone age, and anthropometric measurements were evaluated. Serum adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP) and androstenedione levels were also evaluated in all patients during the follow-up period.

Results: Scrotal ultrasonography revealed bilateral TART in two patients (14.3%) and testicular microlithiasis (TM) in four patients (28.6%). One patient had both TART and TM bilaterally. During the follow-up period, the mean serum adrenocorticotropic hormone, 17OHP and androstenedione levels in the total group of patients were 130.0 ± 179.1 pg/mL (21.7-726.5), 5.8 ± 3.3 ng/mL (0.8-11.4) and 4.3 ± 4.1 (0.2-11.0) ng/mL, respectively.

Conclusions: Microlithiasis or TART may be frequently encountered during the follow-up of patients with CAH. In order to prevent late complications including infertility, we suggest that ultrasonographic evaluations be performed yearly in all male CAH patients.

MeSH terms

  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone / blood
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / complications
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / drug therapy
  • Adrenal Rest Tumor / complications
  • Adrenal Rest Tumor / diagnosis*
  • Adrenal Rest Tumor / drug therapy
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Age Determination by Skeleton
  • Androstenedione / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Scrotum / diagnostic imaging
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • Testicular Neoplasms / complications
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography / methods


  • Androstenedione
  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Steroid 21-Hydroxylase

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21 hydroxylase deficiency