Testicular Cancer Risk Tripled in Some Boys
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Congenital abnormality, known as cryptorchidism, affects 6% of all male births. Boys with this abnormality are almost three times as likely to develop testicular cancer in later life according to new research.
Cryptorchidism, where testes fail to descend into the scrotum and are retained within the abdomen, is the most common birth defect in boys. The findings from a new study prompt the authors to ask whether boys with the condition should be regularly monitored to lessen the potential risk
The authors trawled the Embase and Medline databases for studies, which looked at the potential link between cryptorchidism as an isolated abnormality and testicular cancer risk, and which had been published between January 1980 and December 2010.
They found 735 relevant papers, among which 12 studies matched the inclusion criteria and covered corrective surgery (orchidopexy). The haul included 9 case-control studies, involving 2281 cases of testicular cancer, which had been diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 75 between 1965 and 2006, and 4811 controls.
It also included 3 cohort studies, which regularly monitor similar groups of people over the long term to see what happens to them.
These studies involved more than 2 million boys whose health was tracked for a cumulative period of 58 million years. Boys with cryptorchidism who developed testicular cancer totaled 345. Boys with cryptorchidism in the case-control group were almost 2.5 times as likely to develop testicular cancer as those without the condition. Those in the cohort studies were almost 4 times as likely to develop the disease if their testes had not descended at birth.
The authors calculated that, on the basis of the two sets of figures, boys with isolated cryptorchidism are almost three times as likely to develop testicular cancer in later life. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged between 20 and 45, and rates have increased substantially worldwide over the past few decades, the authors point out.
“Many important unanswered questions remain, such as how laterality, degree of descent, and surgical correction affect the malignant potential of the [undescended] testis,” the authors were quoted saying.
“The most poignant question this study raises, however, is whether the risk of malignant transformation is sufficiently significant to warrant regular follow-up, as is the case with other premalignant states,” the authors concluded.
Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood, December 2012