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.
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