Non-tumoural parenchyma in Leydig cell tumours: pathogenetic considerations

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Abstract

Summary

Little is known about the pathogenesis of Leydig cell tumours (LCTs) of the testis. The observation of several associated dysgenetic features in the non-tumoural parenchyma and in the contralateral testes of men with testicular germ cell neoplasms has served as the basis to propose that there may be a common mechanism for different male reproductive disorders. However, the possible relationship between LCTs and other testicular lesions has not been explored. Here we describe the presence of primary lesions in the non-tumoural parenchyma of testes with LCT, from which we try to establish possible pathogenetic associations. We studied the non-tumoural parenchyma adjacent to 16 LCT specimens. Parameters as Leydig cell hyperplasia (LCHY), qualitative evaluation of the germinal epithelium and spermatogenesis, the presence of Sertoli cell-only tubules (SCOT), and the Sertoli cell nuclear morphology were consistently assessed in all cases. SCOT associated with Sertoli cell dysgenetic morphology was the most frequent finding, present in 50% of the cases. Another interesting finding was the presence of LCHY in four cases (25%). Abnormal spermatogenesis was found in 81.25% of the cases, and it consisted of lesions of the adluminal or basal compartments of seminiferous tubules. The occurrence of either dysgenetic Sertoli cells or LCHY adjacent to LCTs could represent primary anomalies, resulting from a common insult also involved in tumourigenesis. The abnormalities in spermatogenesis observed here are likely to represent consequences of either tumour compression or abnormal hormonal production. The significance of these associations merits further investigation regarding a common pathogenesis.

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