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Keywords:

  • decorin;
  • extracellular matrix;
  • neovascularization;
  • proteoglycans;
  • testicular tumours;
  • versican

Aims:  To investigate the expression of versican and decorin in patients with testicular germ cell tumours (GCTs) and to correlate this with the clinicopathological findings. Matrix proteoglycans versican and decorin are frequently overexpressed in various malignancies and are involved in the progression of cancer.

Methods and results:  Overexpression of versican and decorin was detected in GCTs by immunoblotting. Immunohistochemical staining for proteoglycans was performed on 71 cases of paraffin-embedded tissues. In most of the cases increased decorin and versican stromal staining was demonstrated. In both seminomas and non-seminomatous germ cell tumours (NSGCTs) strong staining of decorin was not found to be related to any of the clinicopathological variables. Accumulation of versican was found to be associated with vascular and lymphatic invasion, nodal metastasis and disease stage in seminomas and NSGCTs and, in addition, with tumour size and distant metastasis only in NSGCTs. Additionally, only the deposition of versican was linearly correlated with the number of microvessels in the tumour stroma in GCTs.

Conclusions:  Ectopic versican and decorin expression is a frequent feature in GCTs. Versican but not decorin accumulation in GCTs is related to metastatic potential and neovascularization and might be a useful marker for testicular malignancy.