Significant calendar period deviations in testicular germ cell tumors indicate that postnatal exposures are etiologically relevant

Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Oct;23(10):1593-8. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-0036-5. Epub 2012 Jul 28.


Purpose: The current working model of type II testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) pathogenesis states that carcinoma in situ arises during embryogenesis, is a necessary precursor, and always progresses to cancer. An implicit condition of this model is that only in utero exposures affect the development of TGCT in later life. In an age-period-cohort analysis, this working model contends an absence of calendar period deviations. We tested this contention using data from the SEER registries of the United States.

Methods: We assessed age-period-cohort models of TGCTs, seminomas, and nonseminomas for the period 1973-2008. Analyses were restricted to whites diagnosed at ages 15-74 years. We tested whether calendar period deviations were significant in TGCT incidence trends adjusted for age deviations and cohort effects.

Results: This analysis included 32,250 TGCTs (18,475 seminomas and 13,775 nonseminomas). Seminoma incidence trends have increased with an average annual percentage change in log-linear rates (net drift) of 1.25 %, relative to just 0.14 % for nonseminoma. In more recent time periods, TGCT incidence trends have plateaued and then undergone a slight decrease. Calendar period deviations were highly statistically significant in models of TGCT (p = 1.24(-9)) and seminoma (p = 3.99(-14)), after adjustment for age deviations and cohort effects; results for nonseminoma (p = 0.02) indicated that the effects of calendar period were much more muted.

Conclusion: Calendar period deviations play a significant role in incidence trends of TGCT, which indicates that postnatal exposures are etiologically relevant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology
  • Registries
  • SEER Program
  • Seminoma / epidemiology
  • Seminoma / etiology
  • Seminoma / pathology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology