Syphilitic orchitis mimicking a testicular tumor in a clinically occult HIV-infected young man: A case report with emphasis on a challenging pathological diagnosis

Chia Ying Chu, Wei Yu Chen, Shauh Der Yeh, Huey Min Yeh, Chia Lang Fang

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Syphilitic orchitis is a rare manifestation of gumma in tertiary syphilis, microscopically typically characterized by multiple discrete granulomas with central necrosis and peripheral fibrosis. We report a case of syphilitic orchitis mimicking a testicular tumor with atypical histological features. Case presentation: A 33-year-old clinically occult HIV-infected man had a testicular tumor. A radical orchiectomy was performed, and a histological examination showed an acute and chronic interstitial inflammatory lesion as well as spindle cell proliferation, without typical gumma formation, necessitating the differential diagnosis having to be made from a panel of etiological factors. Syphilitic orchitis was confirmed by both an immunohistochemical study and PCR testing for the Treponema pallidum DNA polymerase I gene using paraffin-embedded tissues. However, serology tests, including both the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test and Treponema pallidum partical agglutination (TTPA), demonstrated false-negative results. Conclusion: Syphilitic orchitis may present atypical and unusual histological features, and should be included in the differential diagnoses of nonspecific interstitial inflammatory lesions of the testes by pathologists, especially in immunocompromised patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalDiagnostic Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 14 2016



  • Gumma
  • HIV infection
  • Interstitial orchitis
  • Syphilitic orchitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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