Three genome-wide association studies of testicular cancer have uncovered predisposition alleles in or near KITLG, BAK1, SPRY4, TERT, ATF7IP and DMRT1. We investigated whether testicular cancer-risk alleles can be utilized in the clinical setting. We employed the receiver operating characteristic curves for genetic risk models to measure the discriminatory power of a risk variant-based risk model, and found that the newly discovered variants provided a discriminatory power of 69.2%. This suggested that about 69.2% of the time, a randomly selected patient with testicular cancer had a higher estimated risk than the risk for a randomly selected control subject. Using a multiplicative model, we estimated that white men in the top 1% of genetic risk as defined by eight risk variants had a relative risk that was 10.5-fold greater than that for the general white male population. This risk differential does not appear to be clinically useful, given the relative rarity and highly curable nature of testicular germ cell tumour (TGCT). In the authors’ view, a stratified genetic risk assessment strategy might be useful, theoretically, for men who also have independent clinical risk factors for testicular cancer. Several established TGCT risk factors, such as cryptorchidism (RR = 4.8) and male infertility (SIR = 2.8) might prove useful in that context, but we currently do not know whether these testicular cancer-risk loci are associated with, or independent of, such clinical risk factors. More research is required before we can utilize testicular cancer-risk loci for clinically meaningful risk prediction.
Keywords: cryptorchidism, risk assessment, testicular neoplasms