Pathologists have investigated the exact histology of testicular cancer and described 5 types of germinal cancers and 7 types of non-germinal cancers among all of the testicular cancers. But if we simplify a bit, we can narrow the majority of testicular cancers into 6 categories as is shown here:
Histological types of testicular cancer and frequency
seminoma : 40% of all cases
embryonal carcinoma : 25%
teratocarcinoma : 25%
teratoma : 5%
choriocarcinoma : 1%
others, more rare types : 4%
It is evident that 90 % of all testicular cancers are actually a seminoma, embryonal carcinoma or teratocarcinoma. Why is this important, why even care? Because each of these cancers has a different quality and tends to behave differently with respect to responding to various therapeutic modalities. For instance, embryonal carcinoma is an immature, rapidly dividing cell type.
It has a tendency to metastasize earlier, but is sensitive to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Seminoma is the most common testicular cancer in the age group of 30 to 40, where about 85% of men who get testicular cancer have this type. It is a well differentiated tumor cell and in about 15% of cases there are other trophoblastic cell elements present, which produce the beta-subunit HCG (beta hcg). This then allows in 15% of cases to monitor for the progress of the disease as it is being treated by watching the HCG levels.
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