Background: A possible association between the polymorphic CAG repeat in the DNA polymerase gamma (POLG) gene and the risk of testicular germ-cell tumours (TGCT) was investigated in this study. The hypothesis was prompted by an earlier preliminary study proposing an association of the absence of the common 10-CAG-long POLG allele with testicular cancer as well as previously reported in some European populations' association with male subfertility, which is a condition carrying an increased risk of TGCT.
Patients and methods: The number of CAG repeats in both POLG alleles was established in 243 patients with TGCT and in 869 controls by the analysis of the genomic DNA fragment.
Results: A significantly higher proportion of men homozygous allele of other than the common 10 CAG repeats was found among the patients with TGCT in comparison to the controls (4.9% versus 1.3%, respectively, P = 0.001). The vast majority of the homozygous patients had a seminoma (11 of 12; 97%), despite that only about half (55%) of the studied patients had this tumour type.
Conclusions: The findings indicate that the POLG polymorphism may be a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of TGCT particularly in seminoma, but the mechanisms remain to be elucidated.