Reactivity of germ cell maturation stage-specific markers in spermatocytic seminoma: diagnostic and etiological implications

Lab Invest. 2001 Jul;81(7):919-28. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.3780302.


It is generally accepted that testicular seminomas and spermatocytic seminomas have separate pathogeneses, although the origin of these two types of germ cell tumors of the adult testis remains a matter of debate. Although an embryonic germ cell origin seems to be most likely for seminomas, a spermatogonia-spermatocyte origin has been suggested for spermatocytic seminoma. To shed more light on the etiology of spermatocytic seminomas, we undertook an immunohistochemical and molecular approach using SCP1 (synaptonemal complex protein 1), SSX (synovial sarcoma on X chromosome), and XPA (xeroderma pigmentosum type A) as targets. Although a stage-specific expression pattern has been reported for SCP1 and SSX in normal spermatogenesis, we demonstrate here that it also exists for XPA. In fact, immunohistochemistry shows that the proteins of SCP1 and XPA are specifically present in the stage of primary and pachytene spermatocytes. In contrast, SSX was found in spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes, as well as in germ cells, from at least the 17th week of intrauterine development onward. Although no protein encoded by any of these genes was detected in tumor cells of a series of testicular seminomas, all tested spermatocytic seminomas were positive, in agreement with expression analysis. These data support the model that seminomas originate from an embryonic germ cell, and they imply that the cell of origin of spermatocytic seminomas is at least capable of maturing to the stage of spermatogonia-pachytene spermatocyte.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Specificity
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Proteolipids / genetics
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Proteins
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Seminoma / diagnosis
  • Seminoma / etiology
  • Seminoma / pathology*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Testicular Neoplasms / etiology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proteolipids
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Proteins
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Repressor Proteins
  • SYCP1 protein, human
  • synovial sarcoma X breakpoint proteins