Evaluation of testicular biopsies for carcinoma in situ: Immunohistochemistry is mandatory
Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is the common precursor of all type II testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs), i.e. seminomas and non-seminomas, which can be diagnosed using a surgical biopsy. The objective of this study was to investigate the additional value of immunohistochemistry for the diagnosis of CIS in assessing testicular biopsies taken in the context of infertility. A series of 21 infertile patients were retrieved from the Dutch pathological database (PALGA), being diagnosed with an invasive TGCT, while a matched previously obtained testicular biopsy was diagnosed as non-malignant. From 20 patients, both the invasive tumors as well as the biopsies were revised using morphology and immunohistochemistry for OCT3/4, placental-like alkaline phosphatase and c-KIT, all known established markers for CIS. The presence of CIS or invasive malignancies was scored. There are no interventions. Morphological criteria alone allowed an experienced pathologist in TGCTs to diagnose CIS in five and an invasive tumor in two cases (total n = 7, 35%). Application of immunohistochemistry resulted in the identification of an additional four cases of CIS (total n = 11, 55%, additional value of 20%). The initial correct diagnosis of CIS could have prevented a second gonadectomy in four patients (20%). This study, for the first time, really shows that time of progression from CIS to seminoma is longer than to non-seminoma. Our study demonstrates that immunohistochemistry should be performed for the diagnosis of CIS of the testis on single biopsies obtained because of infertility, resulting in an extra diagnostic yield of at least 20%. Application of this protocol will allow early diagnosis, and therefore prevent any adverse anti-cancer treatment sequelae including gonadectomy, and requiring life long androgen supplementation in some patients.