Risk factors for testicular cancer – differences between pure non-seminoma and mixed seminoma/non-seminoma?

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The origin of testicular germ cell cancer (TGCC) is believed to be carcinoma in situ cells developed in utero. Clinically, TGCCs are divided into two major histological groups, seminomas and non-seminomas, where the latter group includes non-seminomatous TGCCs with seminomatous components (mixed S/NS TGCC). Recent studies, however, have suggested that non-seminomas and mixed S/NS TGCCs could have certain differences in aetiology, and in this study the TGCCs were divided into three, rather than the conventional two histological groups. A large case-control study was undertaken on data on all live-born boys registered in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway during the period 1967–1998 (n = 961 396). Among these were 1087 TGCC cases registered in the Cancer Registry of Norway until February 2004. We found several risk factors for TGCC, including low parity, low gestational age, epilepsy and retained placenta. Several of the variables studied seemed to be risk factors for specific histological groups, e.g. parity 0 vs. 2 and low gestational age being associated with increased risk of non-seminomas, but not of mixed S/NS TGCC, and low maternal age being associated with increased risk of mixed S/NS TGCC, but not of non-seminomatous TGCC. Therefore, our results might suggest that non-seminomas and mixed S/NS TGCCs have partially different risk factors, whose associations may be obscured by combining these two histological groups. The histological groups were not significantly different, however. Most of our findings on risk factors for TGCC are in agreement with at least some previous studies. An unexplainable exception is low birth weight being associated with reduced risk of TGCC in our study.

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