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Prepubertal orchiopexy for cryptorchidism may be associated with lower risk of testicular cancer.

Journal of Urology 2007 October
PURPOSE: Current indications for orchiopexy are to decrease the risk of infertility and to facilitate testicular self-examination. Although the increased risk of germ cell cancer in cryptorchid testes is undisputed, it is unclear whether orchiopexy affects the natural history of testis cancer development. We hypothesize that early orchiopexy is protective against subsequent development of testicular germ cell cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. Studies pertaining to cryptorchidism and testicular cancer risk were retrieved by searching MEDLINE, BIOSIS and the Cochrane Library, using cryptorchidism as a keyword, combined with treatment, orchiopexy, testis and cancer. For data extraction exposure was dichotomized to orchiopexy before or after age 10 to 11 years, while outcome was defined as the development of testicular germ cell cancer. Summary risk measures were calculated using the random effects model.

RESULTS: Four studies met our criteria. Review of all studies revealed an increased risk of testicular cancer if orchiopexy was delayed until after age 10 to 11 years or was never performed. Odds ratios ranged from 2.9 to 32.0. Meta-analysis showed that testicular cancer was nearly 6 times more likely (OR 5.8 [1.8, 19.3]) to develop in men in whom orchiopexy was delayed or was not performed, compared to those in whom it was performed early.

CONCLUSIONS: Prepubertal orchiopexy may decrease the risk of testicular cancer. Thus, early surgical intervention is indicated in children with cryptorchidism. These findings suggest that the testicular environment, as well as underlying genetics, may have a role in testicular carcinogenesis.

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