p53: A good diagnostic marker for intratubular germ cell neoplasia, unclassified
Intratubular germ cell neoplasia, unclassified (IGCNU) is a precursor of germ cell tumors (GCT) of the testis. In routine histologic sections, neoplastic intratubular germ cells may be very few and easily overlooked. The aim of this study is two-fold: to establish the immunohistochemical pattern of expression of p53 in IGCNU and GCT and to determine whether p53 can be used as a marker for IGCNU. Resection specimens from 14 seminomas, 14 mixed germ cell tumors (MGCT), 3 embryonal carcinomas, 2 mature teratomas, 7 IGCNUs, and 11 normal testes were stained for p53. Normal germ cells and Sertoli cells of the seminiferous tubules in all normal testes were negative for p53. The tumor cells of all IGCNU cases were positive for p53. All invasive components of mixed germ cell tumors, embryonal carcinomas, and seminomas exhibited expression of p53. Mature teratoma components were negative for p53. These findings indicate that p53 is a highly sensitive marker of IGCNU and highly specific in distinguishing lesional tissue from normal seminiferous tubules. The current findings also suggest that p53 may be involved as an early step in the malignant progression of most germ cell neoplasias.