Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are the most common cancer in men ages 20-40. The incidence of TGCT has more than doubled over the past forty years, without clear etiology. Both genetic effects and environmental exposures, specifically during the pre-natal period, are likely to play an important role in determining TGCT susceptibility. TGCT is known to develop from primordial germ cells (PGCs). We hypothesize that variation in genes that impact upon the differentiation and maturation of PGCs will be important determinants of TGCT susceptibility and based on this hypothesis have selected three important pathways for study, i) male germ cell development, ii) androgen and estrogen biosynthesis and metabolism, and iii) IGF signaling. The proteins involved in early male germ cell development, normally only expressed in PGCs, are markers of and are overexpressed in TGCT. Markers of increased exposure to estrogen (or relatively decreased exposure to androgen) in utero and exogenous estrogen exposures, such as endocrine disrupters, have been associated with TGCT case status in multiple studies. IGF signaling is necessary for testis differentiation and maturation in mice and interacts synergistically with the estrogen signaling pathway. We will analyze the contribution of genetic variants in these pathways to TGCT risk using a population-based case-control study in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Our goal is the collection of 550 TGCT cases and 1100 age, race and cell phone use matched controls without a history of TGCT, which will yield 500 and 1000 white cases and controls, respectively, available for final analyses. All cases will be enumerated through the New Jersey and Pennsylvania state cancer registries. We will use a two-tiered approach for case recruitment: hospital clinic-based followed by registry-based. Controls will be identified through random digit dialing. Both cases and controls will complete a questionnaire addressing known, presumed, and hypothesized risk factors for TGCT and provide a blood sample or buccal swab. Pathological slides will be reviewed to cases to confirm diagnostic sub-type of TGCT. Haplotypes and functional SNPs will be typed in the genes of interest. Analyses will be conducted for specific variants, common haplotypes, alone and in conjunction with each other and exposure data after appropriate adjustment for potential confounders. The findings from this study will greatly contribute to our understanding of determinants of TGCT susceptibility.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Epidemiology of Cancer Study Section (EPIC)
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Zanetti, Krista A
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University of Pennsylvania
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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