Mutations in the KIT gene occur in approximately 8% of all testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) and KIT is the most frequently mutated known cancer gene. One report has shown that 93% of patients with bilateral disease have a mutation at codon 816 of the KIT gene. Importantly, this suggests that the identification of a mutation in KIT is predictive of the development of a contralateral TGCT. We investigated the frequency and type of mutations in KIT in a series of 220 tumors from 211 patients with TGCTs and extragonadal germ cell tumors. In 170 patients with unilateral TGCT and no additional germ cell tumour, we identified one exon 11 mutation in a patient with unilateral TGCT and eight activating KIT mutations in exon 17 (9/175, 5.1%). In 32 patients with bilateral TGCT, one patient had an activating KIT mutation in exon 17 (3.1%). The incidence of activating KIT mutations in sporadic TGCT vs. familial TGCT was not significantly different. All mutations were identified in seminomas. Three extragonadal primary germ cell tumors were examined and in one tumor an activating KIT mutation was demonstrated in the pineal germinoma. Interestingly, this mutation was also seen in the patient's testicular seminoma. We find no evidence for an increased frequency of KIT mutations in bilateral TGCT.