The World Health Organization 2016 classification of testicular germ cell tumours: a review and update from the International Society of Urological Pathology Testis Consultation Panel

Histopathology. 2017 Feb;70(3):335-346. doi: 10.1111/his.13102. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


Since the last World Health Organization (WHO) classification scheme for tumours of the urinary tract and male genital organs, there have been a number of advances in the understanding, classification, immunohistochemistry and genetics of testicular germ cell tumours. The updated 2016 draft classification was discussed at an International Society of Urological Pathology Consultation on Testicular and Penile Cancer. This review addresses the main updates to germ cell tumour classification. Major changes include a pathogenetically derived classification using germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS) as a new name for the precursor lesion, and the distinction of prepubertal tumours (non-GCNIS-derived) from postpubertal-type tumours (GCNIS-derived), acknowledging the existence of rare benign prepubertal-type teratomas in the postpubertal testis. Spermatocytic tumour is adopted as a replacement for spermatocytic seminoma, to avoid potential confusion with the unrelated usual seminoma. The spectrum of trophoblastic tumours arising in the setting of testicular germ cell tumour continues to expand, to include epithelioid and placental site trophoblastic tumours analogous to those of the gynaecological tract. Currently, reporting of anaplasia (seminoma or spermatocytic tumour) or immaturity (teratoma) is not required, as these do not have demonstrable prognostic importance. In contrast, overgrowth of a teratomatous component (somatic-type malignancy) and sarcomatous change in spermatocytic tumour indicate more aggressive behaviour, and should be reported.

Keywords: germ cell neoplasia in situ; germ cell tumour; postpubertal-type teratoma; spermatocytic tumour.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / classification*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / classification*

Supplementary concepts

  • Testicular Germ Cell Tumor