Aim of this review article was to critically analyze the recently described cytogenetic and molecular markers for testicular germ cell tumors with regard to their clinical utility. The isochromosme i(12p) represents the most common and characteristic cytogenetic finding which already appears in testicular carcinoma in situ. A number of proto–oncogenes (cyclin D and PTHLH) as well as putative tumor suppressor genes are localized on 12p; however, their role in pathogenesis and prognosis of testicular germ cell tumors has not been defined yet. Clinical characteristics of patients with familial testicular germ cell tumors indicate a genetic background for the development of testicular tumors. Although a number of chromosomal loci encoding potential testicular tumor susceptibility genes have been identified, the genetic basis of testicular cancer pathogenesis is still unknown. With regard to molecular prognostic risk factors most of the reported data on proliferation markers, tumor suppressor genes, proteases and adhesion molecules have to be confirmed in prospective randomized trials prior to their widespread clinical use. Based on the available data on prospective studies the percentage of embryonal carcinoma and vascular invasion appear to be the most significant prognosticators. Investigation and identification of those factors determining the aggressive biologic behavior of embryonal carcinoma compared to all other histological components appear to be most promising in the research for prgnosticators of metastatic disease. In conclusion, the increasing knowledge of molecular genetic events involved in pathogenesis and prognosis of testicular germ cell tumors will not only help to better understand development and progression of testicular cancer, but it will also define new approaches to classification and management of germ cell tumors

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