Testicular germ cell tumours are at the crossroads of developmental and neoplastic processes. Their cause has not been fully elucidated but differences in incidences suggest that a combination of genetic and environment factors are involved, with environmental factors predominating early in life. Substantial progress has been made in understanding genetic susceptibility in the past 5 years on the basis of the results of large genome-wide association studies. Testicular germ cell tumours are highly sensitive to radiotherapy and chemotherapy and hence have among the best outcomes of all tumours. Because the tumours occur mainly in young men, preservation of reproductive function, quality of life after treatment, and late effects are crucial concerns. In this Seminar, we provide an overview of advances in the understanding of the epidemiology, genetics, and biology of testicular germ cell tumours. We also summarise the consensus on how to treat testicular germ cell tumours and focus on a few controversies and improvements in the understanding of late effects of treatment and quality of life for survivors.
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