Leydig cell tumors of the testis with unusual features: Adipose differentiation, calcification with ossification, and spindle-shaped tumor cells

Thomas M. Ulbright, John R. Srigley, Dimitris K. Hatzianastassiou, Robert H. Young

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47 Scopus citations


We report 19 Leydig cell tumors (LCTs) of the testis with adipose differentiation (n = 12) and/or spindle cell growth (n = 8) in patients 28-70 years of age; three tumors with adipose differentiation showed psammomatous calcifications, two of which also had foci of ossification. In eight tumors fat-like cells apparently derived from lipid accumulation within neoplastic Leydig cells and appeared as focal to prominent clusters in a background of vacuolated, neoplastic Leydig cells. The fat-like cells were usually immunoreactive for Leydig cell markers (inhibin-α, calretinin, and melan-A) but were typically strongly positive for the adipose tissue marker, S-100 protein, supporting a hybrid cell phenotype. Four tumors had fat of stromal derivation. In two of these there were intermixed mature adipocytes, but in two others only lipoblastic cells were present. These four tumors lacked vacuolated, neoplastic Leydig cells, and the fat cells in the single case studied were negative for inhibin-α and melan-A but positive for S-100. Three of the 12 LCTs with adipose differentiation were clinically malignant, and each had several of the established malignant features. Eight tumors with spindle cells occurred in men 34-70 years of age. Two tumors had ill-defined fascicles of spindle cells, and three showed prominent edematous to myxoid areas with spindle-shaped tumor cells. Two additional tumors had a fibroma-like spindled component that blended with islands of more plump, polygonal to spindle-shaped Leydig cells. Finally, one tumor had foci resembling an unclassified sarcoma that merged with conventional LCT; the spindle cell component in this case did not react for Leydig cell markers in contrast to the spindle cells in five of the six other cases in which immunostains were performed. Spindle cell differentiation, by itself, did not appear to have prognostic significance. Of the six patients with available follow-up, two developed metastases, but their tumors had malignant features apart from spindle cells; the remaining four patients were disease free at a mean of 3.6 years. Awareness of these unusual patterns in LCTs may prevent misinterpretation of fat admixed with neoplastic Leydig cells as evidence of extratesticular growth (a criterion for malignant LCT) may help avoid misdiagnosis of a LCT as a testicular "tumor" of the adrenogenital syndrome (which may contain fat) and may prevent misdiagnosis of a LCT with spindle cells as a sarcoma or unclassified sex cord-stromal tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1424-1433
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Adipose metaplasia
  • Leydig cell tumor
  • Osseous metaplasia
  • Sarcomatoid tumor
  • Testicular neoplasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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