Testicular microlithiasis and testicular cancer: review of the literature

Int Urol Nephrol. 2016 Jul;48(7):1079-86. doi: 10.1007/s11255-016-1267-2. Epub 2016 Mar 23.


Purpose: To perform a systematic literature review to assess whether the occurrence of testicular microlithiasis (TML) in conjunction with other risk factors is associated with testicular cancer.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed of original articles in English published 1998 to 2015. Relevant studies were selected by reading the title and abstract by two of the authors. Studies were included if TML was diagnosed by ultrasonography and a risk condition was reported. Studies were only eligible if the particular risk condition was reported in more than one article.

Results: In total, 282 abstracts in were identified. Based on title and abstract the eligibility was assessed and 31 studies were included. Five conditions in relation to TML and testicular cancer emerged: Down syndrome, McCune-Albright syndrome, cryptorchidism, infertility and familial disposition of testicular cancer.

Conclusion: Data support the conclusion that TML is not an independent risk factor for testicular cancer but associated with testicular cancer through other conditions. In male infertility, TML appears to be related to an increased risk of testicular cancer possibly as part of a testicular dysgenesis syndrome.

Keywords: Testicular cancer; Testicular dysgenesis syndrome; Testicular microlithiasis; Ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Calculi / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calculi / pathology*
  • Calculi / surgery
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Incidence
  • Infertility, Male / epidemiology
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Testicular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Testicular Diseases / pathology*
  • Testicular Diseases / surgery
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / surgery
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Testicular Germ Cell Tumor
  • Testicular Microlithiasis