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Anticancer Res. 2013 Nov;33(11):5205-10.

Testis-sparing surgery for the conservative management of small testicular masses: an update.

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9 Palagi Street, 40138 Bologna, Italy.



Malignant germ cell tumours represent the vast majority of palpable testicular masses, and radical orchiectomy is still considered the standard-of-care. Testis-sparing surgery (TSS) could be an alternative to radical orchiectomy in patients diagnosed with small testicular masses (STMs). The aim of this article was to review the current indications and the oncological and functional outcomes of TSS when performed for STMs.


We performed a non-systematic review of literature using the Medline database, including a free-text protocol using the terms "testis sparing surgery", "partial orchiectomy", "testis tumour" and "sex cord tumour". Only the articles reporting data on organ-sparing surgery for testicular neoplasms were evaluated.


No randomized controlled trials comparing TSS with radical orchiectomy have been reported. Indications for TSS are controversial, especially for patients with normal contra-lateral testis. For testicular masses of less then 2 cm, TSS seems to be the best treatment option. Frozen-section examination is an essential assessment at the time of TSS, and allows for discrimination of benign from malignant neoplasms. Intermediate- and long-term follow-up results showed no significant risk of local and distant recurrences in the main series reported in literature.


According to currently available data, TSS is a safe and effective treatment for STMs in selected patients, and bypasses surgical overtreatment, without compromising oncological and functional outcomes. Further studies are needed in order to confirm the oncological safety of this procedure.


Testicular neoplasms; orchiectomy; small testicular masses; testis-sparing surgery

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