Testicular germ cell tumours (TGCTs) are heterogeneous neoplasms with different histological patterns and malignant potential. The aim of this study was to determine whether the main TGCT subtypes (seminoma, embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac tumour, choriocarcinoma, and mature teratoma) are distinguished by their loss of heterozygosity (LOH) patterns and whether LOH typing can help to distinguish between clonal and multifocal development of different components in mixed TGCTs. In 76 tumours analysed for allelic losses at 25 chromosomal loci, different LOH patterns were found in distinct histological subtypes. A region around D18S543 frequently lost in yolk sac tumours could harbour one or more tumour suppressor genes. In 20 microdissected mixed tumours, losses of identical alleles in different histological components in 11 of 20 cases (over 50 per cent) were found, which is in favour of current histogenetic models of clonal TGCT development. Clonal losses were most often found at D13S317 (6 of 20 tumours). Two classes of allelic losses may therefore occur during TGCT development: clonal losses which are involved in early transformational events and others related to TGCT differentiation along different lines.
Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.