Malignant Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis

Journal of Urology. July 22, 2005. Link
Philippe E. Spiessa, Tomasz Tuziakb, Wassim Kassoufa, H. Barton Grossmana and Bogdan Czerniakb

aDepartment of Urology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
bDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas


OBJECTIVES: To review our experience with the management of malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis with emphasis on disease-related outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients seen during the past 25 years at our cancer center identified 5 cases of malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis.

Results: The mean age of patients at presentation was 61.2 years (range 57 to 83). Asbestos exposure was identified in 4 patients. Three patients presented with clinical symptoms suggestive of a hydrocele and two presented with clinical signs of an inguinal hernia. The final diagnosis was established intraoperatively in 1 patient and postoperatively in the remaining 4. Radical orchiectomy or hernia sac with spermatic cord excision was the primary treatment modality. Although radical surgical treatment achieved negative resection margins in 4 cases, 4 of 5 patients died of the disease, with a mean disease-specific survival of only 29 months (range 5 to 68). Regional inguinal lymph node metastasis developed in 3 of 5 patients. Salvage therapy did not prove curative in the 2 patients who received it.

Conclusions: Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis constitutes a rare but often fatal malignancy of the male genitalia. This diagnosis should be suspected in patients exposed to asbestos and presenting with clinical symptoms of either hydrocele or inguinal hernia. Frequent inguinal lymph node involvement indicates a potential role of inguinal lymphadenectomy in the primary treatment.