Susceptibility gene for germ cell testicular cancer localised
Scientists have localised the susceptibility gene for germ cell testicular cancer. A multinational study whose results were published this month (Nature Genetics 2000;24:197200) was set up in an attempt to establish the genetic basis of germ cell testicular cancer, which encompasses seminoma, teratoma, and mixed lesions, and makes up over 80% of testicular cancers.
Testicular germ cell tumours are the most prevalent form of cancer in men aged 15-40 years in western Europe. In the past 30 years, the incidence of testicular germ cell tumour in England and Wales has increased by more than 80%. It is currently unknown what percentage of this tumour is caused by an inherited genetic susceptibility, but estimates by the authors of the paper have put the figure as high as 20%.
Risk factors for testicular germ cell tumour include a history of undescended testis, testicular dysgenesis, infertility, and a previous history of such tumours.