Children's Hospital Colorado

Testicular stromal tumors

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What are testicular stromal tumors?

Testicles are the two oval-shaped organs that create sperm, and they’re contained in the scrotum behind the penis. A testicular stromal tumor grows within the tissues (stroma) that support and produce hormones in the testicles. Another, more common, type of tumor is testicular germ cell tumors, which start in the cells that make sperm.

Types of testicular tumors

Leydig cell tumors

These tumors start in the Leydig cells in the testicle, which normally make male sex hormones, such as testosterone. These tumors often make androgens, or male hormones, but sometimes they make estrogens, or female sex hormones.

Most Leydig cell tumors are benign (noncancerous), they rarely spread beyond the testicle, and they can often be cured with surgery.

Sertoli cell tumors

These tumors start in normal Sertoli cells, which support and nourish the sperm-making germ cells. Like the Leydig cell tumors, these tumors are usually benign.

What causes testicular stromal tumors?

Doctors haven’t found a clear cause for testicular stromal tumors, but some genetic factors increase your child’s risk for the condition. These include changes in the Y chromosome and genetic syndromes such as Peutz–Jeghers syndrome and Carney complex.

Testicular stromal tumors represent up to 20% of pediatric testicular tumors and less than 5% of adult testicular tumors.

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