Testicular biopsy for early cancer detection - objectives, technique and controversies - Abstract

Albertinen-Krankenhaus, Klinik Für Urologie, Hamburg, Germany.

Urologikum Hamburg, Praxis für Urologie, Hamburg, Germany; Vivantes Klinikum Am Urban, Institut für Pathologie, Berlin, Germany.



This review highlights the usefulness of testicular biopsy for early detection of testicular germ cell tumour (GCT). GCT develops through a precursor stage, called testicular intraepithelial neoplasia (TIN; also called Intratubular germ cell neoplasia or carcinoma in situ), which is present many years before invasive malignancy occurs. TIN is safely detected histologically. TIN is usually widely but non-randomly distributed within the testicle, thus, a biopsy of 3 mm size usually indicates the presence of TIN. Surgically, testicular biopsy should be performed at the cranial pole. Two-site biopsies provide an 18% diagnostic yield over single biopsy. Surgical complications occur in about 2.8%, most of which are managed conservatively. Serial scrotal imaging studies after biopsies revealed significant early changes. Eighteen months thereafter, less than 5% of cases have changes detectable. False-negative biopsies are extremely rare. Biopsy also provides information regarding spermatogenesis. In case of diagnosis of TIN, orchiectomy is rarely required. Low-dose radiotherapy eradicates TIN. In conclusion, testicular biopsy is useful in patients with unilateral GCT to explore the opposite testis, and in patients with retroperitoneal GCT to look for occult testicular primary. Further candidates for biopsy are selected patients with sonographic testicular microlithiasis. Despite its usefulness, the procedure has been implemented in clinical routine only in few countries thus far.

Written by:
Dieckmann KP, Kulejewski M, Heinemann V, Loy V.   Are you the author?

Reference: Int J Androl. 2011 May 25. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01152.x

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21615417

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