Testicular germ cell tumors: Classification, pathologic features, imaging findings, and management

Venkata S. Katabathina, Daniel Vargas-Zapata, Roberto A. Monge, Alia Nazarullah, Dhakshina Ganeshan, Varaha Tammisetti, Srinivasa R. Prasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) demonstrate a wide variety of histopathologic, genetic, pathogenetic, and immunocytochemical characteristics and various clinical-biologic profiles and prognoses. Most TGCTs arise from an intratubular precursor cell referred to as germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS), which is an embryonic germ cell with the potential to differentiate into a plethora of embryonic and extraembryonic lineages. Advances in pathologic examination and genetics paved the way for the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification system, which recognizes two pathogenetically distinct groups of TGCTs. Although postpuber-tal tumors originate from GCNIS, almost all prepubertal tumors belong to the non-GCNIS category. Molecular testing for chromo-some 12p amplification helps to distinguish the two tumor catego-ries. Imaging techniques such as US, CT, MRI, and fluorine 18 (18F)–fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT are pivotal to the diagnosis and staging, evaluation of complications and treatment response, and long-term surveillance of TGCTs. In addition, select MRI findings may help to differentiate a seminoma from a nonseminomatous mixed TGCT. Accurate diagnosis of TGCTs has therapeutic and prognostic implications. Although seminomas show exquisite response to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, postpubertal tera-tomas are highly resistant to both. The 2016 WHO classification system introduced changes in the diagnosis and management of TGCTs, including the development of new treatment and follow-up guidelines. Radiologists play an essential role in the optimal treatment of patients with TGCTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1698-1716
Number of pages19
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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