Expression of Fas and Fas ligand in human testicular germ cell tumours

E. Baldini, S. Ulisse, E. Marchioni, A. Di Benedetto, G. Giovannetti, E. Petrangeli, S. Sentinelli, R. P. Donnorso, M. G. Reale, M. Mottolese, L. Gandini, A. Lenzi, M. D'Armiento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we analysed the expression of Fas ligand (FasL) and its cognate receptor Fas in 14 seminomatous testicular germ cell tumours (TGCT) and six normal testicular tissues obtained following orchiectomy. Tissue samples have been processed to prepare either total RNA or protein extracts or fixed and embedded in paraffin for immunohistochemistry (IHC) experiments. Quantitative RT-PCR experiments demonstrated in TGCT a significant (p <0.01) increase of the FasL mRNA expression of 21.1 ± 5.4 fold, with respect to normal tissues. On the contrary, in the same cancer tissues, the levels of Fas mRNA were significantly (p <0.01) reduced to 0.27 ± 0.06 fold. These observations were confirmed in western blot experiments showing a significant increase of FasL and a concomitant decrease of Fas proteins in testicular cancer tissues, with respect to normal testis. Moreover, IHC experiments showed a strong FasL immuno-reactivity in six out of eight TGCT samples analysed, while Fas immuno-positivity was found in cancer cells of only two TGCT tissues. In addition, in all tumour samples, infiltrating lymphocytes were Fas positive. However, no correlation could be observed between Fas or FasL mRNA variations and clinical parameters such as patient's age, TNM stage or tumour size. We also compared the serum levels of soluble FasL (sFasL) of 15 patients affected by seminomatous TGCT, of four patients with non-seminomatous TGCT and six age-matched healthy males. No significant differences in sFasL serum level could be identified. In conclusion, our data demonstrated that the majority of seminomas are characterized by an increased expression of FasL and a concomitant reduction of Fas, with respect to human normal testis, and that sFasL serum level is not a tumour marker for patients affected by TGCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Andrology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Fas
  • FasL
  • Germ cells
  • Seminoma
  • Testis
  • Tumour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Urology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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