The study is the first to find an environmental cause for testicular germ cell tumors.
“This discovery launches a major shift in the current research model, placing DNA-damaging agents in the forefront as likely mediators of testicular cancer induction,” says corresponding author Gunapala Shetty, Ph.D., an assistant professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology.
During the past 50 years, testicular cancer incidence has tripled in young Caucasians.
“This increase and the characteristics of germ cell tumors strongly suggest that fetal exposure to an environmental agent is responsible,” say Shetty. “However, the identification of any agent producing increases in testicular cancer has eluded scientists.”
Funding for this research was from the Florence M. Thomas Professorship in Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute.