1. Department of Genitourinary Pathology, Joint Pathology Center, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
2. Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
3. Center for Prostate Disease Research, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
4. United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Aeromedical Research Dept. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433, USA
Neural-cadherin is a member of the cadherin gene family encoding the N-cadherin protein that mediates cell adhesion. N-cadherin is a marker of Sertoli cells and is also expressed in germ cells of varying stages of maturation. The purpose of this study was to determine the presence and distribution of this protein by immunohistochemistry in 105 germ cell tumors of both single and mixed histological types and 12 gonadal stromal tumors. Twenty-four germ cell tumors consisted of one cell type and the remaining were mixed. Of the 23 seminomas in either pure or mixed tumors, 74% were positive. Two spermatocytic seminomas were positive. Of the 83 cases with yolk sac tumor, 99% were positive for N-cadherin. The teratomas were positive in 73% in neuroectodermal and / or glandular components. In contrast, 87% of embryonal carcinomas did not express N-cadherin. Only 17% of the syncytiotrophoblastic cells were positive for N-cadherin. In conclusion, N-cadherin expression is very helpful in the identification of yolk sac tumors. In addition to glypican-3 and Sal-like protein 4, N-cadherin can be beneficial for the diagnosis and classification of this subtype of testicular germ cell tumor. Nine of the 12 gonadal stromal tumors were positive to a variable extent.
Keywords: N-cadherin, testis, germ cell tumors, gonadal stromal tumors.