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L1-CAM is commonly expressed in testicular germ cell tumours
  1. Christian D Fankhauser1,
  2. Peter K Bode2,
  3. Thomas Hermanns1,
  4. Sophia Sander2,
  5. Joerg Beyer3,
  6. Tullio Sulser1,
  7. Peter Altevogt3,
  8. Holger Moch2,
  9. Verena Tischler2
  1. 1Department of Urology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. 2Institute of Surgical Pathology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  4. 4Skin Cancer Unit, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christian Daniel Fankhauser, Department of Urology, University Hospital of Zurich, University of Zurich, Frauenklinikstrasse 10, Zurich 8091, Switzerland; Christian.fankhauser{at}

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In 2015, an estimated number of 8430 new cases of germ cell tumour (GCT) will be diagnosed in the USA.1 Although GCTs show a high sensitivity to cisplatin-based chemotherapy, 10%–15% of patients fail first-line chemotherapy and 3%–5% of all patients with GCT will eventually die of their disease.2 Despite a response rate above 95% to cisplatin-based chemotherapy, the search for new treatment strategies remains worthwhile in accordance to reduce treatment toxicity and offer therapeutic options in non-responding patients.3–5 Various tumours have been described to express L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1-CAM) including lung carcinoma, gliomas, melanoma, renal, ovarian, endometrial and colon carcinoma.6 L1-CAM is associated with tumour cell dissemination via the regulation of prometastatic MMP-2 and MMP-9 in solid and non-solid tumours7 as well as in brain metastases.8 L1-CAM is involved in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.9 In various malignancies, there is evidence showing that the expression of L1-CAM is associated with a subset of highly aggressive tumours with adverse clinical outcome and might serve as a therapeutic target.10 We aimed to investigate the expression of L1-CAM in the different GCT subtypes.

Materials and methods

The construction of the tissue micro array (TMA) was described before.9 L1-CAM immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed …

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  • CDF and PKB contributed equally.

  • Contributors CDF, PB and VT had the original research idea, led the study and performed all secondary dissections. SS, TH, PA and JB helped develop the research idea, contributed to the study and helped structure the paper. TS and HM provided scientific and technical leadership and support within the dissection laboratory during the data collection period.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.