Hormonal risk factors in testicular cancer

A case-control study, American journal of epidemiology, 1986


The authors interviewed 273 northern California testicular cancer cases aged 40 and under diagnosed between 1976 and 1981, their mothers, and matched peer controls and their mothers on prenatal hormone exposure and other variables.

Included was a population-based substudy (1979-1981) of all interviewable cases reported to the San Francisco Bay Area Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry.

They found odds ratios (OR) of from 8.3 (sons’ report) to 4.5 (mothers’ report) associated with cryptorchidism, but found no association with mothers’ hormone exposure or diethylstilbestrol exposure in pregnancy.

They also found a significant association with lower age at puberty (OR = 2.0); a marginally significant association with mothers’ breast cancer (OR = 2.9, p = 0.054); and a significant protective effect of reported mononucleosis (OR = 0.6).

These associations remained strong in the population-based substudy.

When cases were divided by histology, strong and specific associations of earlier puberty (OR = 2.3) and mothers’ breast cancer (OR = 4.4) with nonseminomatous cancer, and of reported mononucleosis (OR = 0.3) with seminomatous cancer, were found.

These observations suggest that

  1. prenatal exogenous hormone exposure does not account for a significant fraction of testicular cancer,
  2. a cluster of “breast-cancer-like” risk factors are associated with nonseminomas,
  3. and there is some genetic risk of nonseminomas.


Since DES stopped being prescribed in 1971, and since testicular cancer takes time to develop, we believe it’s reasonable to think the study’s cases (aged 40 and under diagnosed between 1976 and 1981) do not match DES Sons exact profiles / conditions .


  • Hormonal risk factors in testicular cancer. A case-control study, American journal of epidemiology, NCBI PubMed, PMID: 2872797, 1986 Jul;.
  • Northern California image credit eventbrite.

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