Recent Developments in Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Research

GJM van de Geijn, Remko Hersmus, LHJ (Leendert) Looijenga

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Testicular germ cell tumors of adolescents and adults (TGCTs; the so-called type II variant) are the most frequent malignancies found in Caucasian males between 20 and 40 years of age, The incidence has increased over the last decades. TGCTs are divided into seminomas and nonseminomas, the latter consisting of the subgroups embryonal carcinoma, yolk-sac tumor, teratoma, and choriocarcinoma. The pathogenesis starts in utero, involving primordial germ cells/gonocytes that are blocked in their differentiation, and develops via the precursor lesion carcinoma in situ toward invasiveness. TGCTs are totipotent and can be considered as stem cell tumors. The developmental capacity of their cell of origin, the primordial germ cells/gonocyte, is demonstrated by the different tumor histologies of the invasive TGCTs. Seminoma represents the germ cell lineage, and embryonal carcinoma is the undifferentiated component, being the stem cell population of the nonseminomas. Somatic differentiation is seen in the teratomas (all lineages), whereas yolk-sac tumors and choriocarcinoma represent extra-embryonal differentiation. Seminomas are highly sensitive to irradiation and (DNA damaging) chemotherapy, whereas most nonseminomatous elements are less susceptible to radiation, although still sensitive to chemotherapy, with the exception of teratoma. To allow early diagnosis and follow up, appropriate markers are mandatory to discriminate between the different subgroups. In this review, a summary will be given related to several recent developments in TGCT research, especially selected because of their putative clinical impact. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 87:96-113, 2009. (C) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)96-113
Number of pages18
JournalBirth defects research part C-embryo today-reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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