DNA methyltransferase-3 like protein expression in various histological types of testicular germ cell tumor

Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2016 May;46(5):475-81. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyw012. Epub 2016 Feb 24.


Objective: DNA methyltransferase 3-like plays an important role in germ cell development. The aim of this study was to analyse the DNA methyltransferase 3-like protein expression in testicular germ cell tumors.

Methods: The immunohistochemical expression of DNA methyltransferase 3-like was examined in 86 testicular germ cell tumor specimens in various clinical settings. The association between DNA methyltransferase 3-like expression and disease stage was analyzed.

Results: DNA methyltransferase 3-like was strongly expressed in seven of the eight pure embryonal carcinomas (87.5%). Partial DNA methyltransferase 3-like expression was observed in 6 of 23 (26.1%) pure seminomas. Various degrees of DNA methyltransferase 3-like expression was observed in all four pure yolk sac tumors, of which three were prepubertal yolk sac tumors. In mixed germ cell tumors, DNA methyltransferase 3-like protein was expressed in various degrees in elements of the embryonal carcinoma (14/18, 77.8%), seminoma (4/11, 36.4%), teratoma (4/7, 57.1%) and choriocarcinoma (3/3, 100%) but not in the yolk sac tumors (0/4). When DNA methyltransferase 3-like expression was analyzed according to disease stages, it was significantly correlated with advanced seminoma rather than Stage I seminoma (46.2 vs. 0%, P = 0.019), whereas there was no significant difference in the DNA methyltransferase 3-like-positive proportion between Stage I and advanced disease in the mixed germ cell tumors.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that DNA methyltransferase 3-like protein may play roles not only in the development of embryonal carcinoma but also in the development of advanced pure seminoma and pure yolk sac tumor.

Keywords: AFP; DNMT3l; embryonal carcinoma; seminoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Embryonal / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Embryonal / pathology
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / genetics
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Endodermal Sinus Tumor / enzymology
  • Endodermal Sinus Tumor / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / enzymology
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology*
  • Seminoma / epidemiology
  • Seminoma / pathology
  • Teratoma / enzymology
  • Teratoma / pathology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology*


  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases

Supplementary concepts

  • Testicular Germ Cell Tumor