Flourescence in situ hybridization analysis of chromosome 12p in paraffin-embedded tissue is useful for establishing germ cell origin of metastatic tumors

Kevin M. Kernek, Matteo Brunelli, Thomas M. Ulbright, John N. Eble, Guido Martignoni, Shaobo Zhang, Helen Michael, Oscar W. Cummings, Liang Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


The over-representation of chromosome 12p sequences is crucial for the development of invasive testicular germ cell tumors. Testicular cancer patients may have metastatic tumors of diverse histologic types, including adenocarcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, sarcoma, or other malignancies that lack features of germ cell tumors. We sought to investigate the possible germ cell origin of such tumors using interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization. In all, 10 metastatic malignant somatic-type tumors from patients with histories of testicular cancer, as well as one malignant somatic-type tumor from a patient with primary mediastinal germ cell tumor were studied and included: adenocarcinoma (five cases), poorly differentiated carcinoma (one), sarcoma (four), and neuroendocrine carcinoma (one). The tumors were analyzed using fluorescence in situ hybridization using 12p spectrum green and 12 centromeric spectrum orange probes in paraffin sections. The patients ranged in age from 27 to 55 years (mean, 43). Colon and lung cancers from patients without germ cell tumors were used as controls. Adequate signals were observed in all tumors. Gain of chromosome 12p was seen in six tumors. None of the control tumors showed 12p amplification. Fluorescence in situ hybridization for 12p amplification in routinely processed surgical specimens is a useful adjuvant diagnostic tool in confirming the germ cell origin of metastatic tumors having the histologic appearance of somatic-type neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1313
Number of pages5
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004



  • Chromosome 12p
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Metastatic tumors
  • Origin
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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