Epigenetics: A way to understand the origin and biology of testicular germ cell tumors


Keisei Okamoto M.D., Ph.D., Department of Urology, Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu, Shiga 520-2192, Japan. Email: keisei@belle.shiga-med.ac.jp


Testicular germ cell tumors are neoplasms carrying two unique features. First, testicular germ cell tumors have a pluripotential nature and show protean histology ranging from that of germ cells to embryonal and differentiated somatic cells. Therefore, testicular germ cell tumors are interesting resources positioned at a crossroad in developmental and neoplastic processes. The second unique feature of testicular germ cell tumors is their exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin-based chemotherapy. This review summarizes recent research progress in the epigenetics of testicular germ cell tumors in an attempt to explain the abovementioned biological and clinical characteristics of testicular germ cell tumors.