St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Leydig cell tumor

    Tumor - Leydig cell; Testicular tumor

    A Leydig cell tumor is a tumor of the testicle. It develops from Leydig cells -- the cells in the testicles that release the male hormone, testosterone.


    The cause of this tumor is unknown. There are no known risk factors for getting this tumor. Unlike germ cell tumors of the testicles, this tumor does not seem to be linked to undescended testes (cryptorchidism).

    Leydig cell tumors make up a very small number of all testicular tumors. They are most often found in men between the ages of 20 and 60. This tumor is not common in children before puberty, but it may cause early puberty.


    There may be no symptoms.

    When symptoms do occur, they can include:

    • Discomfort or pain in the testicle
    • Enlargement of a testicle or change in the way it feels
    • Excess development of breast tissue (gynecomastia) -- however, this can occur normally in adolescent boys who do not have testicular cancer
    • Heaviness in the scrotum
    • Lump or swelling in either testicle
    • Pain in the lower abdomen or back

    Symptoms in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, abdomen, pelvis, back, or brain may also occur if the cancer has spread.

    Exams and Tests

    A physical examination typically reveals a firm lump in one of the testicles. When the health care provider holds a flashlight up to the scrotum, the light does not pass through the lump.

    Other tests include:

    • Blood tests for tumor markers: alpha fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (beta HCG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
    • Chest x-ray
    • CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis
    • Ultrasound of the scrotum

    An examination of the tissue is usually done after the entire testicle is surgically removed (orchiectomy).


    Treatment of a Leydig cell tumor depends on its stage.

    • Stage I cancer has not spread beyond the testicle.
    • Stage II cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the abdomen.
    • Stage III cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes (it could have spread as far as the liver, lungs, or brain)

    Surgery is done to remove the testicle (orchiectomy), and it may also remove nearby lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy).

    Chemotherapy to treat this type of tumor uses drugs such as cisplatin, bleomycin, and etoposide to kill cancer cells. Because Leydig cell tumors are rare, these treatments have not been studied as well as they have for other, more common testicular cancers.

    Support Groups

    Joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems can often help ease the stress of illness. Your local branch of the American Cancer Society may have a support group. See: for more information.

    The National Cancer Institute website also provides further information:

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable and curable cancers.

    Possible Complications

    Testicular cancer may spread to other parts of the body. The most common sites include the:

    • Abdomen
    • Lungs
    • Retroperitoneal area (the area near the kidneys)
    • Spine

    Complications of surgery can include:

    • Bleeding and infection
    • Infertility (if both testicles are removed)

    If you are of childbearing age, ask your doctor about methods to save your sperm for use at a later date.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of testicular cancer.


    The United States Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine screening for testicular cancer because no screening technique is known to be effective.

    However, performing a testicular self-examination (TSE) each month may help detect testicular cancer at an early stage, before it spreads. Finding testicular cancer early is important to successful treatment and survival.


    Einhorn LH. Testicular cancer. In Goldman L, Schafer AI,eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 206.

    National Comprehensive Cancer Network. National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Testicular cancer. 2012. Version 1.2012.


    • Male reproductive anatom...


      • Male reproductive anatom...


      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Leydig cell tumor

            Review Date: 6/5/2012

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile