Zebrafish Germ Cell Tumors

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;916:479-94. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-30654-4_21.


Germ cell tumors (GCTs) are malignant cancers that arise from embryonic precursors known as Primordial Germ Cells. GCTs occur in neonates, children, adolescents and young adults and can occur in the testis, the ovary or extragonadal sites. Because GCTs arise from pluripotent cells, the tumors can exhibit a wide range of different histologies. Current cisplatin-based combination therapies cures most patients, however at the cost of significant toxicity to normal tissues. While GWAS studies and genomic analysis of human GCTs have uncovered somatic mutations and loci that might confer tumor susceptibility, little is still known about the exact mechanisms that drive tumor development, and animal models that faithfully recapitulate all the different GCT subtypes are lacking. Here, we summarize current understanding of germline development in humans and zebrafish, describe the biology of human germ cell tumors, and discuss progress and prospects for zebrafish GCT models that may contribute to better understanding of human GCTs.

Keywords: Germ cell tumor; Non-seminoma; Primordial germ cell; Seminoma; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / pathology*
  • Zebrafish