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J Urol. 2009 Aug;182(2):704-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2009.04.032. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

Age at orchiopexy and testis palpability predict germ and Leydig cell loss: clinical predictors of adverse histological features of cryptorchidism.

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Department of Urology, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0738, USA.



We determined the relationship between clinical variables and testicular histopathological changes associated with decreased fertility potential in children with cryptorchidism.


Testis biopsies of 274 children who underwent orchiopexy and concurrent testicular biopsy between 1991 and 2001 were analyzed for germ and Leydig cell loss, and testicular fibrosis. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine if age at orchiopexy (analyzed as continuous and ordinal variables), preoperative testis palpability, unilateral vs bilateral disease and/or side of undescended testis was predictive of these pathological outcomes.


Age at orchiopexy was associated with germ and Leydig cell depletion. Each month of testis undescent was associated with development of moderate/severe germ cell depletion (OR 1.02 for each month of age, p <0.005) and Leydig cell loss (OR 1.01 for each month of age, p <0.02). Nonpalpable testes were associated with severe germ cell depletion. Children with palpable testes had lower odds of germ cell depletion than those with nonpalpable testes (OR 0.46, p <0.005). This finding corresponds to a significant 2% risk per month of severe germ cell loss and 1% risk per month of Leydig cell depletion for each month a testis remains undescended, and a 50% greater risk of germ cell depletion in nonpalpable relative to palpable cryptorchid testes.


Testes that remain undescended are associated with progressive loss of germ and Leydig cells, and nonpalpable testes predict severe germ cell loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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