Letters

Risk of testicular cancer in boys with cryptorchidism

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7120.1462a (Published 29 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1462

Study was based on small number of cancers

  1. Mark Davenport, Consultant paediatric surgeona
  1. a Department of Paediatric Surgery, King's College Hospital, London SE5 9RS
  2. b Epidemiological Monitoring Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  3. c Department of Preventative Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90033-0800, USA

    Editor—Swerdlow et al identified 11 testicular cancers in a cohort of 1182 boys treated for undescended testes in the 1950s and early 1960s and make several contentious observations.1 Their main, and most startling, observation is of a relation, possibly causal, between testicular biopsy at orchidopexy and later malignancy. Their interpretation, however, is based on a small number of cancers, which detracts from this unexpected conclusion. Similar studies have had a much larger denominator (for example, 794 testicular tumours in the most recent report of the UK Testicular Study Group2). Secondly, of all the factors that were looked at, testicular biopsy is the least random. Whatever the authors say about what was in the operation notes, something about the testicular appearance must have been the reason for biopsy. Otherwise why do it in 120 testes and not in the other 1285?

    I also take issue with the statistical comparison of …

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