Bilateral testicular germ cell tumours: a systematic review


Walter H. da Costa, Department of Urology, AC Camargo Hospital, Rua Antonio Prudente, 211, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. e-mail:


What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Bilateral testicular germ cell tumours (BTGCTs) are rare neoplasms. Most previously published studies consist of case reports or small retrospective case series. Little is known about their epidemiological and clinicopathological characteristics.

BTGCT corresponded to 1.82% of testicular tumours. Metachronous disease was about twice as frequent as synchronous disease. The primary tumour histology, chemotherapy use and the interval between metachronous tumours influenced the histology of the second tumour. Overall, synchronous tumours were associated with more advanced disease and presented less favourable survival rates than metachronous tumours.

Testicular cancer is the most common tumour in young men. It is known that a second primary contralateral testis tumour may occur in up to 5% of men with a proior tumour. About 35% of these men present with synchronous tumours, and 65% present with metachronous tumours. However there is little data about bilateral testicular germ cell tumours (BTGCT) in the literature and the most published articles are case reports on a small series of men, which makes it difficult to draw conclusions about therapeutic strategies for the treatment of BTGCTs.

In fact, current guidelines for the treatment of testicular cancer contain little information related to bilateral disease. Therefore, the aim of our study is to provide a broad overview of BTGCT and to update data focusing on incidence, pathological features, and clinical outcomes of men with BTGCTs. Thus, an extensive review containing 94 studies and more than 50,000 patients was conducted.