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Cancer Res. 2002 Apr 15;62(8):2359-64.

New insights into testicular germ cell tumorigenesis from gene expression profiling.

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Department of Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, N-0310 Oslo, Norway.


We have shown recently that about half of the human TGCTs(3) reveal DNA copy number increases affecting two distinct regions on chromosome arm 17q. To identify potential target genes with elevated expressions attributable to the extra copies, we constructed a cDNA microarray containing 636 genes and expressed sequence tags from chromosome 17. The expression patterns of 14 TGCTs, 1 carcinoma in situ, and 3 normal testis samples were examined, all with known chromosome 17 copy numbers. The growth factor receptor-bound protein 7 (GRB7) and junction plakoglobin (JUP) were the two most highly overexpressed genes in the TGCTs. GRB7 is tightly linked to ERBB2 and is coamplified and coexpressed with this gene in several cancer types. Interestingly, the expression levels of ERBB2 were not elevated in the TGCTs, suggesting that GRB7 might be the target for the increased DNA copy number in TGCTs. Because of the limited knowledge of altered gene expression in the development of TGCTs, we also examined the expression levels of 512 additional genes located throughout the genome. Several genes novel to testicular tumorigenesis were consistently up- or down-regulated, including POV1, MYCL1, MYBL2, MXI1, and DNMT2. Additionally, overexpression of the proto-oncogenes CCND2 and MYCN were confirmed from the literature. The overexpressions were for some of the target genes closely associated to either seminoma or nonseminoma TGCTs, and hierarchical cluster analysis of the gene expression data effectively distinguished among the known histological subtypes. In summary, this focused functional genomic characterization of TGCTs has lead to the identification of new gene targets associated with a common genomic rearrangement as well as other genes with potential importance to testicular tumorigenesis.

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