Study reveals importance of ultrasound screening in infertile men

September 30, 2004

The majority of testicular tumors identified during the course of an infertility examination would not otherwise have been found at that stage, according to urologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

The majority of testicular tumors identified during the course of an infertility examination would not otherwise have been found at that stage, according to urologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

A total 11 of 150 men who had a radical orchiectomy for testicular cancer over a 10-year period at the university's urology clinic were referred from infertility clinics. The men's tumors were discovered when they underwent trans-scrotal ultrasound screening in connection with their infertility workups.

The tumors were small, averaging 1.3 cm, and located centrally. In eight of 11 patients, the tumors were only detectable through ultrasound and were not palpable. Although most of the lesions were benign (six of 11), patients with a history of undescended testis or azoospermia were at increased risk of testicular cancer.

"More research will give us a better understanding of the relationship between infertility and testicular lesions," said Anthony Thomas, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, commenting on the study. "In the meantime, the recommendation that all infertile men should have sonographic screening is a prudent one."