Author(s): Silver SA, Wiley JM, Perlman EJ
To determine the usefulness of DNA ploidy analysis in the biological assessment of pediatric germ cell tumors (GCTs), paraffin-embedded tissues from primary, recurrent, and metastatic neoplasms in 32 patients under age 18 were analyzed using static image cytometry. Primary sites included testis (eight), ovary (nine), sacrococcygeal region (10), central nervous system (three), and other extragonadal sites (two). The majority of the tumors were endodermal sinus tumors (ESTs) and teratomas. Of 13 teratomas, eight were diploid and five aneuploid. Immature ovarian teratomas of up to Grade II were diploid, whereas all of three Grade III immature teratomas were aneuploid. All sacrococcygeal teratomas, regardless of grade, were diploid; the development of EST in two sacrococcygeal teratomas was associated with the development of aneuploidy. Of 17 endodermal sinus tumors, five were diploid, five aneuploid, and seven tetraploid. All diploid ESTs occurred in the testis or extragonadally in patients 24 mo of age or younger. Infantile testicular ESTs were either tetraploid (one) or diploid (two), and ovarian ESTs were either aneuploid (two) or tetraploid (three). Comparing our data with that available for adult GCTs, we suggest that some pediatric GCTs may be pathogenetically distinct from adult GCTs. Adult testicular GCTs have been shown to be aneuploid, whereas infantile testicular ESTs are often tetraploid or diploid. This suggests a different pathogenesis for these groups of tumors and may explain their biological differences as well. The transformation of a sacrococcygeal teratoma into a malignant EST is poorly understood. Ploidy analysis presented suggests genetic alterations may accompany this transformation.