The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 545 - 557 (2004)

Vol 48, Issue 5-6

Special Issue: Invasion in Cancer and Embryonic Development

Germinal tumor invasion and the role of the testicular stroma

Open Access | Published: 1 September 2004

Alejandro Díez-Torre1, Unai Silván1, Olivier De Wever2, Erik Bruyneel2, Marc Mareel2 and Juan Aréchaga1

1Department of Cell Biology and Histology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country, Leioa, Vizcaya, Spain and 2Laboratory of Experimental Cancerology, Department of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.


Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are the most frequent neoplasia among young people and their incidence has grown very quickly during recent decades in North America and Europe. Many studies have been carried out in order to elucidate the factors involved in the appearance and progression of these tumors. Little is known about the role of cancer cell-stroma crosstalk in TGCT invasive processes. Here, we review several factors which may be implicated in germ cell tumor progression, such as matrix metalloproteinases, insulin-like growth factor, transforming growth factor beta, the cadherin/catenin complex and integrins. Paradoxically,some of these molecules are also involved in the regulation of normal testicular function. Finally, we discuss prospects for future research on the role of the stroma in the progression and differentiation of male germ cell tumors.


germinal tumors, embryonal carcinoma, teratocarcinoma, ES cells, EG cells, tumor-stroma interactions

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