Testicular Adrenal Rest Tumors in Boys and Young Adults with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

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Testicular adrenal rest tumors are a well-known complication in males who have congenital adrenal hyperplasia with potential infertility in adulthood. We assessed the prevalence of testicular adrenal rest tumors in infants to young men presenting to a congenital adrenal hyperplasia Comprehensive Care Center.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 35 males with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency underwent scrotal ultrasonography, including 7 younger than 5 years, 9 who were 5 to 12 years old and 19 who were older than 12 years. Three and 35 patients had classic and nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia, respectively. Bone age x-ray or advanced bone age x-ray history, glucocorticoid dose, fludrocortisone dose, and serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone, testosterone and androstenedione levels within 3 months of ultrasound were also recorded.


Testicular adrenal rest tumors were detected in 5 of 35 patients (14%), including 1 of 9 (11%) who were 5 to 12 years old and 4 of 19 (21%) who were older than 12 years. The tumors were not detected in any patients younger than 5 years, including 1 infant with poor hormonal control. The youngest patient with positive findings was 6.6 years old. All patients with positive findings had bilateral disease and only 1 had suspicious physical findings. The glucocorticoid dose and 17-hydroxyprogesterone did not differ between patients with vs without a testicular adrenal rest tumor. Those with a tumor were more likely to have advanced bone age x-ray results (100% vs 42%, p = 0.04) and higher fludrocortisone dose (p <0.01). All males with nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia had negative tumor findings.


Testicular adrenal rest tumors were present in young males with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia but not in infants or toddlers. These tumors were associated with higher fludrocortisone requirements and a history of advanced bone age x-ray results. However, the tumors did not develop in all poorly controlled males. Longitudinal studies are needed to understand the individual predisposition to testicular adrenal rest tumors and the age at which to begin screening patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

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