Histological evaluation of the human testis - approaches to optimizing the clinical value of the assessment: mini review

Robert I McLachlan, Ewa Rajpert-De Meyts, C E Hoei-Hansen, David Morritz de Kretser, N E Skakkebaek

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297 Citations (Scopus)


Testicular biopsy is a crucial assessment in reproductive practice with diagnostic and prognostic importance for assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and risk of testicular neoplasia. Endocrine and genetic tests cannot reliably distinguish obstructive azoospermia (OA) from non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) or predict recovery of mature spermatids by testicular sperm extraction (TESE). Currently, divergent histological reporting systems and the use of imprecise terminology seriously degrade the value of the literature on TESE recovery rates and hamper evaluation of treatments and research on genotype-phenotype relationships. The rising incidence of testis cancer and carcinoma in situ (CIS), especially in infertile populations, requires that every effort be made for its early detection. We provide a systematic approach to the histological classification of spermatogenic disorders and detection of CIS in adult patients. We evaluate a large consecutive series of bilateral biopsies from infertile men and report (i) the frequency of bilateral or discordant patterns that supports the use of bilateral biopsy for comprehensive evaluation and (ii) a high prevalence of mixed patterns, particularly within the hypospermatogenesis classification, that helps account for reported success of TESE. We propose a new diagnosis code for testicular biopsies that addresses the needs of ART clinicians and allows data storage and retrieval of value in clinical practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2 - 16
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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