Testicular tumors: Pathology review


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Testicular tumors: Pathology review


Male and female reproductive system disorders

Precocious puberty

Delayed puberty

Klinefelter syndrome

Turner syndrome

Androgen insensitivity syndrome

5-alpha-reductase deficiency

Kallmann syndrome

Male reproductive system disorders

Hypospadias and epispadias

Bladder exstrophy


Penile cancer


Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Prostate cancer


Inguinal hernia




Testicular torsion

Testicular cancer

Erectile dysfunction

Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder

Female reproductive system disorders


Ovarian cyst

Premature ovarian failure

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Ovarian torsion

Krukenberg tumor

Sex cord-gonadal stromal tumor

Surface epithelial-stromal tumor

Germ cell ovarian tumor

Uterine fibroid



Endometrial hyperplasia

Endometrial cancer


Cervical cancer

Pelvic inflammatory disease


Female sexual interest and arousal disorder

Orgasmic dysfunction

Genito-pelvic pain and penetration disorder


Fibrocystic breast changes

Intraductal papilloma

Phyllodes tumor

Paget disease of the breast

Breast cancer

Hyperemesis gravidarum

Gestational hypertension

Preeclampsia & eclampsia

Gestational diabetes

Cervical incompetence

Placenta previa

Placenta accreta

Placental abruption



Potter sequence

Intrauterine growth restriction

Preterm labor

Postpartum hemorrhage


Congenital toxoplasmosis

Congenital cytomegalovirus (NORD)

Congenital syphilis

Neonatal conjunctivitis

Neonatal herpes simplex

Congenital rubella syndrome

Neonatal sepsis

Neonatal meningitis


Gestational trophoblastic disease

Ectopic pregnancy

Fetal hydantoin syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Reproductive system pathology review

Disorders of sex chromosomes: Pathology review

Prostate disorders and cancer: Pathology review

Testicular tumors: Pathology review

Uterine disorders: Pathology review

Ovarian cysts and tumors: Pathology review

Cervical cancer: Pathology review

Vaginal and vulvar disorders: Pathology review

Benign breast conditions: Pathology review

Breast cancer: Pathology review

Complications during pregnancy: Pathology review

Congenital TORCH infections: Pathology review

Disorders of sexual development and sex hormones: Pathology review

Amenorrhea: Pathology Review

Testicular and scrotal conditions: Pathology review

Sexually transmitted infections: Warts and ulcers: Pathology review

Sexually transmitted infections: Vaginitis and cervicitis: Pathology review

HIV and AIDS: Pathology review

Penile conditions: Pathology review


Testicular tumors: Pathology review

USMLE® Step 1 questions

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USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

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A 68-year-old man comes to his primary care provider for evaluation of “fullness in the groin,” which started 3 weeks ago. The discomfort is present in both testicles and has not improved with over-the-counter ibuprofen. On review of systems, the patient endorses a decreased appetite, 7-kg (15-lb) weight loss over the past 2 months, and occasionally wakes up at night drenched in sweat. Past medical history is notable for hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, and chronic venous insufficiency. Temperature is 37.2°C (99.0°F), pulse is 71/min and blood pressure is 147/82 mmHg. Physical examination reveals a thin man with diffuse muscle wasting. Bilateral testicular enlargement is present. The masses do not decrease in size when the patient lies flat. The testes are nontender to palpation. No erythema or rashes are noted over the scrotum. Which of the following best describes the pathophysiology of this patient’s testicular findings?


Content Reviewers

Yifan Xiao, MD


Antonia Syrnioti, MD

Jake Ryan

Salma Ladhani, MD

Zachary Kevorkian, MSMI

25-year-old Kyle comes to the office after palpating a lump on his left testicle while showering this morning. On physical examination, there is a nontender, round, firm, rubbery mass in the left testicle that does not transilluminate with light. Scrotal ultrasound shows a 1.4-cm solid mass with no cystic components. Laboratory tests reveal normal serum human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG level, and normal α-fetoprotein or AFP level. Later that day, 32-year-old William comes to the physician's office complaining of heat intolerance, excessive sweating, palpitations, frequent bowel movements and recent weight loss despite increased appetite. His past medical history is insignificant. On examination, the thyroid gland is normal with no signs of goiter or nodules. However, a hard nodule is palpated in the right testicle which does not transilluminate with light and appears solid on scrotal ultrasound. Laboratory studies show increased serum T4 and T3 levels as well as extremely elevated hCG levels.

Based on the initial presentation, Kyle and William both have some form of testicular mass. In fact, testicular tumors are the most common solid malignancy in males between 20 and 35 years old.

Okay, now, for your exams, it’s important to know that the main risk factors for developing testicular cancer, especially the germ cell variety, include cryptorchidism, which is when the testicles fail to descend to the scrotum or get stuck in the inguinal canal, as well as Klinefelter syndrome, where biological male individuals inherit more than one X chromosome leading to small, undeveloped testicles.

For symptoms, a testicular tumor most often comes up as a small, firm lump that is typically painless, but can sometimes cause a sharp or dull pain in the testicles and lower abdomen. In more severe cases, symptoms may arise from a malignant tumor metastasizing to other organs. This is most commonly hematogenous to the lungs, leading to dyspnea or hemoptysis, which is the coughing of blood, or to the brain, leading to headache, nausea, vomiting or seizures. Another way for the cancer cells to metastasize is by the testicular lymphatic system that drains into retroperitoneal lymph nodes. Metastasis to these lymph nodes leads to symptoms like lower back pain.


Testicular tumors are abnormal growths that can develop in one or both testicles. Most testicular tumors are germ cell tumors and can be classified into seminomas, which are the common ones and have a better prognosis; and non-seminomas, which have a worse prognosis.

Non-seminomas include yolk sac tumors, which are the most common type in children; choriocarcinomas, which are associated with hyperthyroidism and gynecomastia; teratomas, which are usually benign in children and malignant in adults; and embryonal carcinomas, which are rare as pure carcinomas but a common element of mixed germ cell tumors. Non-germ cell testicular tumors come from the Sertoli cells, which don't produce hormones, or the Leydig cells which can secrete excess male and female sex hormones. Diagnosis is made primarily with physical examination, ultrasound findings, and determination of serologic tumor markers, including PLAP, AFP, hCG, and LDH. Treatment is radical orchiectomy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.


  1. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Twentieth Edition (Vol.1 & Vol.2)" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  3. "Sternberg's Diagnostic Surgical Pathology" LWW (2009)
  4. "Medical Treatment of Advanced Testicular Cancer" JAMA (2008)
  5. "Testicular Cancer: A Prototypic Tumor of Young Adults" Seminars in Oncology (2009)
  6. "Testicular Choriocarcinoma Presenting as Hyperthyroidism" The American Journal of Medicine (2013)

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