Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are the leading cause of cancer-related death in young males between the ages of 20-40. Surgical resection and cisplatin-based chemotherapy can achieve a cure for the majority of patients with TGCTs, with survival rates of up to 97% for patients diagnosed at an early stage. The use of serum biomarkers, such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), β-HCG, and LDH, plays a significant role in both diagnosis and evaluation of response to treatment, and despite their low sensitivity and specificity levels, they are an integral part of the current tumor staging system and daily practice. Molecular biomarkers, including micro-RNAs and gene-expression profiles, are currently being developed in TGCTs and could potentially hold a prominent place in the future diagnosis, treatment selection, surveillance, and prognostication of these tumors. This review discusses how current advances in our understanding of the underlying biology of TGCTs have helped biomarker discovery, with a focus on the recognition of key molecular alterations that could serve as potential indicators of disease onset, response to systemic or/and surgical therapies, and overall clinical course.
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