What is the role of cryptorchidism in the etiology of testicular cancer?

Updated: Sep 11, 2019
  • Author: Kush Sachdeva, MD; Chief Editor: E Jason Abel, MD  more...
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Answer

In patients with cryptorchidism, the risk of developing germ cell tumor is increased fourfold to eightfold. The risk of developing germ cell tumor when a cryptorchid testis is intra-abdominal is about 5%. The risk is 1% if the testis is retained in the inguinal canal. Surgical placement of the undescended testis in the scrotum—orchiopexy—when the patient is younger than 6 years lowers the risk further. About 5%-20% of patients with a history of cryptorchid testis develop tumors in the normally descended testis.

In Sweden from 1965 to 2000, a total of 16,983 males underwent orchiopexy and 56 cases of testicular cancer were reported. The relative risk of testicular cancer among those who underwent orchiopexy before reaching 13 years of age was 2.23, compared with that of the Swedish general population. For those treated at 13 years of age or older, the relative risk was 5.4. [11]


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