Cryptorchidism and testicular cancer in the dog: unresolved questions and challenges in translating insights from human studies

Biol Reprod. 2024 May 13:ioae075. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioae075. Online ahead of print.


Cryptorchidism, the failure of one or both testes to descend into the scrotum, and testicular cancer show a strong correlation in both dogs and humans. Yet, long-standing medical debates persist about whether the location of undescended testes directly causes testicular cancer in humans or if both conditions stem from a common origin. Although testicular cancer is a prevalent disease in dogs, even less is known about its cause and correlation with testicular descent in this species. This review investigates the relation between these two disorders in dogs, drawing insights from human studies, and examines key biomarkers identified thus far. In addition, it explores potential causal links, including the impact of temperature on maturing testicular cells and a potential shared genetic origin. Notably, this literature review reveals significant differences between men and dogs in reproductive development, histological and molecular features of testicular tumors, and the prevalence of specific tumor types, such as Sertoli cell tumors (SCTs) in cryptorchid dogs and germ cell tumors (GCTs) in humans. These disparities caution against using dogs as models for human testicular cancer research and underscore the limitations when drawing comparisons between species. The paper concludes by suggesting specific research initiatives to enhance our understanding of the complex interplay between cryptorchidism and testicular cancer in dogs.

Keywords: Cryptorchidism; Germ cell tumor; Gonocytes; Inguinoscrotal; Seminoma; Sertoli cell tumor; Sertoli cells; Spermatocytic tumor; Testicular cancer; Transabdominal.