Androgen insensitivity syndrome: Risk of malignancy and timing of surgery in a paediatric and adolescent population

Dragan Kravarusic, Emmanuelle Seguier-Lipszyc, Elad Feigin, Revital Nimri, Nessia Nagelberg, Enrique Freud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Management of female phenotype XY disorders poses a series of problems for the treating clinician. Even after a series of investigations and imaging modalities, there are lingering doubts about the exact nature of the disease and the correct management option. Optimal timing and necessity for removal of their testes have been a debated issue by physicians. There is a generally accepted opinion among physicians that the risk of malignancy in androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) is considerably lower than with other intersex disorders and occurs at a later age. Objective: The highlight of this presentation is to reinforce the value of laparoscopic gonadectomy in management of AIS in correlation with data suggesting higher risk of malignancy. Patients and Methods: A retrospective review of 11 phenotypic females with XY karyotype was carried out. The patients were evaluated by a diagnostic protocol which included clinical, hormonal, sonographic and cytogenetic examinations. Patients/parents were counselled by the team concerning the different treatment modalities and contrary to the assigned gender, laparoscopy was offered to them. Uneventful bilateral gonadectomy was performed in all the patients and gonads submitted for histopathological examination. Results: A total of 11 patients (mean age, 10.4 4.1 years), including six with complete AIS and five with partial AIS (PAIS) were reviewed. In two patients with PAIS (18.1%), histopathology revealed malignancy (bilateral seminoma and gonadoblastoma) and in an additional patient, a benign hamartoma was found. Literature evidence suggests that AIS female phenotype patients retaining their testes through puberty have a 5% chance for developing malignant tumours. Reviewing our results in correlation with literature, we found that PAIS patients may harbour a higher risk of malignancy. Conclusions: In complementation to hormonal tests and cytogenetic techniques, laparoscopic gonadectomy is required to complete the diagnostic work up for AIS as it also adds a final therapeutic approach with low risk and huge benefit. Since laparoscopy is now a well-tolerated and widely accepted gold standard, it should be included in routine management for patients with AIS. Risk of malignancy in PAIS should be investigated in larger cohort of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalAfrican Journal of Paediatric Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgen insensitivity syndrome
  • risk of malignancy
  • timing of surgery


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