High prevalence of testicular cancer in azoospermic men without spermatogenesis

M. Mancini, L. Carmignani, G. Gazzano, P. Sagone, F. Gadda, S. Bosari, F. Rocco, G. M. Colpi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: An increased risk of testicular cancer in men with infertility and poor semen quality has been reported. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of testicular nodules and cancer in azoospermic subjects with different spermatogenetic patterns. METHODS: A total of 1443 consecutive infertile men were investigated, out of which 145 (10.0%) were found to be azoospermic. By using clinical examination and testicular ultrasound, 11 out of the 145 patients showed testicular nodules (2.8-26 mm). To obtain spermatozoa for assisted reproduction, 97 subjects required testicular sperm extraction (TESE) and biopsy, including the 11 patients with nodules. They were divided into two groups according to biopsy results: Group A (n = 38) with complete Sertoli cell-only syndrome (SCOS) and Group B (n = 59) with varying spermatogenetic patterns. Ten nodules were found in Group A and one in Group B. RESULTS: In azoospermic men, the overall prevalence of nodules was 7.5%. In complete SCOS, the prevalence of nodules and cancer was 10/38 (26.3%) and 4/38 (10.5%), respectively. Amongst the cancers, one embryonal carcinoma, one seminoma and two in-situ carcinomas were found. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of testicular nodules and cancer in azoospermic men with complete SCOS is very high. In these subjects, the role of clinical evaluation, ultrasound and biopsy should be emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1046
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Azoospermia
  • Cancer
  • Male infertility
  • SCOS
  • Testicular nodule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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