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Yale J Biol Med. 1981 Jul-Aug;54(4):293-8.

The incidence of male genital tumors: a cellular model for the age dependence.


Most human tumors, including most male genital tumors, exhibit an exponential increase in incidence with advancing age of the host. This exponential age-incidence pattern can be explained by the accumulation of mutations in the stem cells of the tissues of tumor origin. The age-incidence pattern for testicular tumors, however, is unique with a large linear increase in incidence from age 14 to 30 and a linear decline in incidence from age 30 to 60. After age 60, the incidence of testicular tumors remains low and constant. The probability of testicular tumorigenesis is determined by the susceptibility of male germ cells to neoplastic mutation and/or the neoplastic mutagenicity of the male germ cell environment. Since there is no evidence for an environmental mutagen which is specific for male germ cells, and since male germ cells are unusually susceptible to mutation, we interpret the variation in testicular tumor incidence with age as a reflection of the susceptibility of male germ cells to neoplastic mutation. Cell are most susceptible to mutation during genome replication and we propose a model for testicular tumorigenesis which is consistent with the available data on male germ cell proliferation and with the data on testicular tumor incidence.

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