Clinical features and prevalence of Klinefelter syndrome in transgender individuals: A systematic review

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2022 Jul;97(1):3-12. doi: 10.1111/cen.14734. Epub 2022 Apr 15.


Objective: Previous studies have suggested a higher prevalence of Klinefelter syndrome amongst transgender individuals. We undertook a systematic review to determine the prevalence of Klinefelter syndrome amongst transgender individuals presumed male at birth and summarize the clinical features and potential treatment implications for individuals with Klinefelter syndrome commencing gender-affirming hormone therapy.

Design: Using preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis guidelines, we searched EMBASE, MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) up to 31 December 2021. All studies reporting on the prevalence or clinical features of transgender individuals with Klinefelter syndrome were included. This study is registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, number CRD42021227916.

Results: Our search strategy retrieved 11 cohort studies comprising 1376 transgender individuals. In all, 14 of 1376 (1.02%) individuals were diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome. Based on the seven studies in which karyotype was undertaken in all individuals, the prevalence is 9/1013 (0.88%; 95% CI, 0.41%-1.68%). Case reports highlight unique treatment considerations in this population, including azoospermia, venous thromboembolism, and monitoring of breast cancer and bone health.

Conclusions: Compared to the general population, observational studies document a higher prevalence of Klinefelter syndrome amongst transgender individuals, though underdiagnosis in the general population limits conclusions. Routine karyotype in transgender people initiating gender-affirming hormone therapy is not supported unless clinical features of Klinefelter syndrome, such as small testicular volume, or hypergonadotropic hypogonadism are present. Transgender individuals with Klinefelter syndrome need to manage a unique risk profile if they desire feminizing gender-affirming hormone therapy.

Keywords: Klinefelter syndrome; XXY Syndrome; disorders of sex development; gender dysphoria; gender identity; gender incongruence; transgender.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Klinefelter Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Transgender Persons*


  • Hormones