A prospective study of risk factors for carcinoma in situ of the contralateral testis in patients with testicular cancer

Should doctors offer a routine biopsy test to men who have had testes cancer?

What was this study about?

Men with cancer in one testicle are at a much higher risk of developing cancer in the other testicle. Before this is diagnosed, they often have a pre-cancer condition called carcinoma in situ (CIS). This is an early tumour that can’t spread anywhere else in the body. In testicular cancer, it can usually be treated using surgery and radiotherapy. Doctors can usually detect CIS by doing a biopsy – but sometimes this can be problematic.

TE11 was a prospective study, which followed the experience of men with testes cancer who were thought to be at higher than average risk of developing cancer in the other testicle. These men were given a biopsy and then offered treatment if there was CIS. The aim of the study was to understand the risk of CIS and to see whether doing a biopsy as a routine is helpful for this group of men.

What difference did this study make?

We found that two factors could identify which men with testis cancer were at higher than average risk of having CIS and therefore developing cancer in the other testicle. These factors were the size of the remaining testis and the man’s age. Approximately one third of men with testis cancer in whom the unaffected testicle was small (defined as a volume of 12mls or less) and who were aged 30 or less had CIS.

The results of this trial have been used in guidelines for doctors in the UK and the USA.

Type of study

Observational study

Contact details


Who funded the study?

The Medical Research Council.

When did it take place?

Men were recruited to take part in this study between 1989 and 1995. The results of the study were published in 1998.

Who was included?

186 men took part in this study. They came from centres in the UK and Norway.