Testicular tumors: what radiologists need to know--differential diagnosis, staging, and management

Radiographics. Mar-Apr 2015;35(2):400-15. doi: 10.1148/rg.352140097.


Cryptorchidism, family history, and infertility are risk factors for testicular cancer. Most testicular cancers occur in young men aged 18-35 years, and seminoma is the most common cell type. Testicular tumors are usually diagnosed at ultrasonography (US) and are staged at computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. At US, testicular tumors usually appear as a solid intratesticular mass. Because the differential diagnosis includes infarct and infection, correlation with patient history and symptoms is important. At staging CT or MR imaging, retroperitoneal lymph nodes are considered regional lymph nodes, and the greatest nodal diameter is used to distinguish among N1-N3 disease. The right testicular vein drains into the inferior vena cava, and the left testicular vein drains into the left renal vein. Because of venous and lymphatic drainage pathways, retroperitoneal lymph nodes are the initial landing station for testicular cancers. Enlarged lymph nodes in the supraclavicular region, chest, and pelvis are considered distant metastases. Testicular cancer is initially treated with orchiectomy. The patient may then undergo active surveillance, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or retroperitoneal lymph node resection, depending primarily on the clinical stage. Radiologists play an important role in initial diagnosis, staging, and imaging surveillance of testicular malignancies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / therapy
  • Young Adult