Testicular cancer trends as 'whistle blowers' of testicular developmental problems in populations


Recently a worldwide rise in the incidence of testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) has been repeatedly reported. The changing disease pattern may signal that other testicular problems may also be increasing. We have reviewed recent research progress, in particular evidence gathered in the Nordic countries, which shows strong associations between testicular cancer, undescended testis, hypospadias, poor testicular development and function, and male infertility. These studies have led us to suggest the existence of a testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS), of which TGCC, undescended testis, hypospadias/disorders of sex differentiation and male fertility problems may be symptoms with varying penetration. In spite of their fetal origin, most of the TDS symptoms, including TGCC and poor semen quality, can only be diagnosed in adulthood. Data from a Danish-Finnish research collaboration strongly suggest that trends in TGCC rates of a population may be 'whistle blowers' of other reproductive health problems. As cancer registries are often of excellent quality - in contrast to registries for congenital abnormalities - health authorities should consider an increase in TGCC as a warning that other reproductive health problems may also be rising.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Andrology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)198-204; discussion 204-5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y
  • Fetal Development
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male
  • Karyotyping
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
  • Testicular Neoplasms
  • Testis
  • World Health


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