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A study to identify the genetic causes of testicular cancer
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This study was done to help understand more about how genetic factors affect the risk of developing testicular cancer. This study was supported by Cancer Research UK.
We know that risk factors for testicular cancer include having had testicular cancer before, having a family history of testicular cancer and having undescended testicles (cryptorchidism). We also know that genetic factors are likely to affect the risk of testicular cancer. But testicular cancer is relatively rare, so it is not common for more than one person in the same family to have it.
There are occasional families with more than one case of testicular cancer or undescended testicle. It is particularly useful for researchers to look at these families to find out more about the genetics of testicular cancer.
In this study, the researchers did a range of genetic tests on samples of genetic material (DNA) from men who had testicular cancer and a family history of either testicular cancer or undescended testicle.
The aim of this study was to identify genetic factors that may be important in the development of testicular cancer.
Summary of results
The research team identified several genetic factors that could be associated with the development of testicular cancer.
The research team analysed the genetic material in thousands of blood samples from men with testicular cancer. They compared that to the genetic material of thousands more men not affected by testicular cancer, to see if they could find genetic factors involved in development of the disease.
Each cell in the body has 23 pairs of chromosomes, so 46 chromosomes in total. Chromosomes are long chains of genes, and each gene contains a code to make one protein. These proteins control how the cell works and what happens in the body.
The research team found several genetic changes on a number of different chromosomes which they think could increase a man's risk of developing testicular cancer. It is likely that some of these changes will increase risk more than others, so more work needs to be done to find out more about them.
The research team hope that these results will help them understand how testicular cancer develops, and that it may lead to development of better treatments and screening tests in the future. The team are running another trial called The UK Genetics of Testicular Cancer Study to try and find out more.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Robert Huddart
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer