Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis

Hum Pathol. 2019 Oct:92:48-58. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2019.07.009. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Malignant mesothelioma (MM) arising from the serosal membranes of the tunica vaginalis testis (TVT) is rare. Most examples in the published medical literature are individual case reports. This study presents the clinicopathological findings of mesothelioma of the TVT in one of the largest series to date. Individuals with mesothelioma of the TVT were identified from a database of more than 4000 mesothelioma cases, and their clinicopathological features were recorded. Eighteen men with MM and 2 with well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma of the TVT were identified, which represented 0.6% of males with mesothelioma in study population. The median age at diagnosis was 72 years (range, 32-85 years). A neoplasm was not suspected preoperatively in 12 of the 17 (71%) men whose clinical presentation was known, 7 of whom presented with hydrocele and 5 with inguinal hernia. The other 5 had a clinically recognized mass. Seven of the men underwent herniorrhaphy; 7, radical orchiectomy; 3, hydrocelectomy; and 3, paratesticular mass biopsy or excision as the initial diagnostic procedure. Twelve of the MM cases were epithelioid and 6 were biphasic. Among the 6 men with MM who had ≥6 months of follow-up, 1 was alive with no evidence of disease at 6 months, and 5 were known to have died of disease 8-74 months (median = 31.5 months) following diagnosis. Three men with MM had received either chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Of the 2 men initially diagnosed with well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma, 1 was alive without evidence of disease 5 years after diagnosis, while the other had findings more compatible with MM with peritoneal involvement 2 years following initial diagnosis. In 15 of the 18 cases of MM (83%), there was documented occupational or paraoccupational exposure to asbestos, the average duration of which was 33 years (range, 2-46 years). Information regarding the presence or absence of pleural plaques was available in 5 of the MM cases, and pleural plaques had been found in 4. Lung tissue was not available for fiber analysis in any of the cases. One additional case originally diagnosed at another institution as MM of the TVT was reclassified as adenocarcinoma following performance of additional immunohistochemical testing. TVT is a rare site of MM, the diagnosis of which is often unsuspected preoperatively. Like its counterparts at other serosal sites, MM of the TVT is an aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis that evidence would suggest is etiologically associated with asbestos in at least some cases.

Keywords: Asbestos; Mesothelioma; Paratesticular adenocarcinoma; Tunica vaginalis testis; Well differentiated papillary mesothelioma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / pathology*
  • Mesothelioma / surgery
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant
  • Middle Aged
  • Orchiectomy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / surgery
  • Testis / pathology*
  • Testis / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome