Testicular germ cell tumours (TGCT) cluster in families, but responsible genes remain unidentified. The association between testicular microlithiasis (TM) and testicular carcinoma in situ (CIS) suggests that TM may be a TC risk factor. We report testicular ultrasound findings in men with familial TGCT (FTGCT) and their unaffected relatives. A total of 81 men (48 affected and 33 unaffected) from 31 families with > or =2 TC cases underwent testicular ultrasound. Testicular microlithiasis was defined as either 'classic' (> or =5 microliths) or 'limited' (s exact test and permutation testing. Testicular microlithiasis was more frequent in the contralateral testicles of men with a history of TGCT (affected men) than in unaffected men (48 vs 24%, P=0.04). The association appeared stronger for classic TM (21 vs 9%) than for limited TM (27 vs 15%). Testicular microlithiases were bilateral in six out of seven (87%) unaffected men. Among affected men, TM was not associated with histology, age at diagnosis or cancer treatment. Of the 31 families, 10 accounted for a majority (61%) of the TM cases identified (P=0.11). Testicular microlithiasis was more prevalent among FTGCT family members than described previously in the general population, and was more common among FTGCT cases vs unaffected blood relatives. Testicular microlithiasis appeared to cluster in certain families. These findings suggest both a familial predisposition to TM and an association between TM and FTGCT. If proven, this could be clinically important to men in FTGCT families, and may be useful in identifying specific genes involved in FTGCT.