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Evolution of Testicular Germ Cell Tumors in the Molecular Era with Histogenetic Implications.

The current WHO classification of testicular germ cell tumors is based on the pathogenesis of the tumors driven by different genomic events. The germ cell neoplasia in situ is the precursor lesion for all malignant germ cell tumors. The current understanding of pathogenesis is that the developmental and environmental factors with the erasure of parental genomic imprinting lead to the development of abnormal gonocytes that settle in the "spermatogonial Niche" in seminiferous tubules. The abnormal primordial germ cells in the seminiferous tubules give rise to pre-GCNIS cells under the influence of TPSY and OCT4 genes. The whole genome duplication events give rise to germ cell neoplasia in situ, which further acquires alterations in 12p along with NRAS and KRAS mutations to produce seminoma. A subset of seminomas acquires KIT mutation and does not differentiate further. The remaining KIT-stable seminomas differentiate to nonseminomatous GCTs after obtaining recurrent chromosomal losses, epigenetic modification, and posttranscriptional regulation by multiple genes. Nonseminomatous germ cell tumors also develop directly from differentiated germ cell neoplasia in situ. TP53 pathway with downstream drivers may give rise to somatic-type malignancies of GCT. The GCTs are remarkably sensitive to cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy; however, resistance to cisplatin develops in up to 8% of tumors and appears to be driven by TP53/MDM2 gene mutations. Serum and Plasma miRNAs show promise in diagnosing, managing, and following up on these tumors. The mechanisms underlying the development of most tumors have been elucidated; however, additional studies are required to pinpoint the events directing specific characteristics. Advances in identifying specific molecular markers have been seen recently and may be adopted as gold standards in the future.

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