Klin Onkol 2017; 30(6): 412-419. DOI: 10.14735/amko2017412.

Background: Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are the most frequently diagnosed solid tumors in young men and their incidence has been increasing over the past decades. Several factors may combine and play a role in the TGCT etiology, including environmental factors and genetic predispositions at multiple genomic loci that affect both testicular germ cells and stromal cells, and their interactions within the testicular microenvironment. The pathogenesis of TGCT starts prenatally with primordial germ cell arrest, and further proceeds postnatally, giving rise to in situ germ cell neoplasia and, finally, to invasive TGCT with the characteristic 12p chromosome amplification. Apart from the genes localized here, further molecular mechanisms have been linked to TGCT pathogenesis, such as the activation of the KIT/KITL signaling pathway, and aberrations in genes involved in DNA reparation, regulation of cellular differentiation, proliferation, and survival. Despite the relatively good prognosis and known etiopathogenesis of these tumors, neither targeted therapy nor molecular prognostic/predictive factors have yet been implemented in the management of TGCT, because there is not enough information about the molecular pathways or molecules involved in TGCT development that could be used for patient stratification and treatment. Current high-throughput technologies, such as next generation sequencing at the exome or transcriptome level could provide this missing information on genetic predispositions and other factors influencing the clinical course of the disease and treatment response in TGCT. Aim: In this review, we summarize the main molecular characteristics of TGCT and the probable mechanisms participating in tumor initiation and progression.


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