Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in young men ages 15 to 35. It accounts for about one percent of all cancer in men, with approximately 7,400 cases diagnosed in the United States every year. It is much more common in white males than in black males. DCEG investigators are conducting the Familiar Testicular Cancer Study to pursue research into the genetic causes of testicular cancer, using carefully-collected biological samples from members of multiple-case families, in which we are also studying the relationship between testicular microlithiasis (calcium deposits within testicular tissue) and the risk of familial testicular cancer. (Study protocol: 02-C-0178)
Previous work has focused on defining the clinical characteristics of the familial testicular cancer syndrome. This is proving to be a remarkably interesting project because the genetic mechanisms that are just now being identified seem quite different from those that had been previously found to cause other hereditary cancer disorders such as hereditary breast and hereditary colon cancer. The current hypothesis is that familial testicular cancer results from the combined effects of many genes, each of which by itself causes only a small increase in cancer risk. Those genes appear to be deeply involved in the normal growth and development of the testes in the fetus, and in regulating male fertility and the production of sperm.
For more information, contact Jennifer Loud.