Whole exome sequencing identifies PLEC, EXO5 and DNAH7 as novel susceptibility genes in testicular cancer

Int J Cancer. 2018 Oct 15;143(8):1954-1962. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31604. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous disease, and little is known of its genetic basis. Only low susceptibility risk loci have been identified for both sporadic and familial cases. Therefore, we tried to identify new susceptibility genes responsible for familial testicular cancer that may contribute to increasing our knowledge about the genetic basis of the disease. Nineteen Spanish families with at least two affected individuals with TGCT were selected. WES was performed on those individuals using an Illumina Hiseq2000 sequencing platform. Data were analyzed under a monogenic and polygenic model of inheritance, and candidate variants were evaluated in a case-control association study performed on 391 Spanish sporadic cases and 1,170 healthy Spanish controls. Results were replicated in a second series consisting of 101 TGCTs from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TGCA) and 27,000 controls from the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) database. Logistic regression was carried out to analyze the association strength (risk) of candidate variants obtained among cases and controls in different populations. Despite the sample size, we detected a significant earlier age of onset in familial TGCT (28y) than sporadic cases (33y), using a Mann-Whitney U test. We identified significant variants in the comparative study of TGCT cases (391) versus controls (almost 1,170), and three of them [PLEC (OR = 6.28, p = 6.42 × 10-23 ) (p.Arg2016Trp), EXO5 (OR = 3.37, p = 4.82 × 10-09 ) (p.Arg344AlafsTer10) and DNAH7 (OR = 1.64, p = 0.048)] were replicated as potential candidates that may contribute to explaining the genetic basis of TGCT.

Keywords: susceptibility risk variants; testicular germ cell tumor; whole exome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Axonemal Dyneins / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exome / genetics
  • Exome Sequencing / methods
  • Exonucleases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Heredity / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Plectin / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • PLEC protein, human
  • Plectin
  • EXO5 protein, human
  • Exonucleases
  • Axonemal Dyneins