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Pathologe. 2014 May;35(3):211-7. doi: 10.1007/s00292-014-1896-0.

[Testicular cancer - a matter of geography? Epidemiology and etiopathogenesis of germ cell tumors].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Pathologie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Müllerstr. 44, 6020, Innsbruck, Österreich,


More than 90 % of testicular tumors are germ cell tumors. There is no doubt that ethnicity is one of the single overriding etiological factors in the development of these tumors. White males living in western industrialized countries, particularly in northern Europe show the highest incidence rates, whereas black males in Africa show the lowest. These differences are the result of interaction of genetic factors and exogenous noxious agents. Some of these agents are chemical substances with an estrogen-like effect. Many exogenous substances have been blamed for causing testicular cancer, but clear epidemiological evidence is lacking for most cases. Some well-established risk factors prevail, such as cryptorchidism, familial association, gonadal dysgenesis (intersex) and germ cell tumor in the contralateral testis. In terms of importance, overalimentation appears to outweigh occupation. The development of germ cell tumors is assumed to have an intrauterine origin through defect gonocytes which evolve into atypical germ cells of unclassified intratubular germ cell neoplasms. The trigger event is, however, the appearance of isochromosome 12p, which makes these cells aggressive and results in overt invasive testicular cancer.

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