What Are the Different Types of Testicular Cancer?

Although there are additional uncommon forms of testicular cancer, seminomas and nonseminomas account for the majority of instances. How they spread and are treated by medical professionals can vary according to the type.

Depending on the kind of cells that develop into cancer, testicular cancer, or cancer starting in the testicles, can take many different forms.

Approximately 95% of all occurrences of testicular cancer, also known as germinal tumours, begin in the germ cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. Seminomas and nonseminomas are the two primary categories of germinal tumours.

Compared to germinal tumours, stromal tumours are substantially less prevalent and develop in distinct cells.

Additionally, cancer can start in another part of the body and spread to the testicles.

Let's examine each kind in greater depth.


One of the two primary categories of germ cell testicular tumours is seminomas. The reproductive cells called germ cells are responsible for producing eggs in females and sperm in males.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both are commonly used in the treatment of seminomas, along with testicular excision surgery, and orchiectomy.

About 99% of patients who receive treatment before the cancer has a chance to grow or metastasis will survive for five years.

Seminomas are divided into two subgroups.

Over 95% of seminomas are classical seminomas, which typically affect younger males.

Spermatocytic seminomas typically affect elderly males and are substantially less common. Compared to traditional seminomas, they grow more slowly and are less prone to spread.


Since nonseminomas grow and spread more quickly than seminomas, it's critical to receive a precise diagnosis and begin therapy right away. The same treatment choices that apply to seminomas also apply to nonseminomas.

Nonseminomas can be classified into four subtypes, albeit these tumours frequently combine different classifications. Among these subtypes are:
  • testicular cancer that grows quickly and frequently spreads to the brain, bones, and lungs is called choriocarcinoma.
  • About 40% of testicular tumours are embryonal carcinomas.
  • teratomas come in three subtypes: mature, immature, and malignant teratomas of the somatic type.
  • The most prevalent kind of testicular cancer in youngsters is called yolk sac carcinoma, so called because it mimics the yolk sac of a human egg.

Carcinomas in situ

Noninvasive precancerous testicular germ cells are referred to as carcinoma in situ, also known as intratubular germ cell neoplasia. Under a microscope, these cells resemble normal cells, but sometimes a biopsy can distinguish them. This frequently happens by accident, like in the case of a fertility test.

As carcinoma in situ doesn't usually progress to an invasive stage, your physician might advise close observation. This involves routine physical examinations and screenings to check for the formation of malignant tumours, such as blood tests and ultrasounds.

According to a 2019 study, there is roughly a 50% probability that a carcinoma in situ discovered during a biopsy would progress into a malignant germ cell tumour.

Sex cord-stromal tumors

The tissue in the testicles that produce hormones is called the stroma. In human embryos, structures called sex cords aid in determining whether the embryo will develop into a male or female.

The cells in these locations are the source of sex cord-stromal tumours, or SCSTs.

Testicular SCSTs make up only approximately 5% of all testicular tumours; nevertheless, the International Ovarian and Testicular Stromal Tumour Registry indicates that they are the second most prevalent kind in children.

Secondary testicular cancers

Because the tumours originate in another area of the body and spread to the testicles, secondary testicular cancers are not regarded as "true" testicular cancers. The American Cancer Society states that lymphoma is the most prevalent type of cancer that affects the testicles.

The following malignancies can also spread to the testicles:
  • kidney cancer (as well as more abdominal organ tumours)
  • lung cancer
  • leukemia
  • melanoma (skin cancer)


It's beneficial to discuss your treatment choices with an oncologist who specialises in treating testicular cancer, regardless of the type of disease you have.

Your treatment approach will depend on the type and stage of your specific malignancy, your age, and your general health, even though an orchiectomy is normally necessary in most situations.

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