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1.  Gonadal germ cell tumors in children and adolescents 
Pediatric germ cell tumors (GCT) are rare tumors: 80% are benign, 20% malignant (2-3% of all malignant pediatric tumors). The gonadal sites (ovary and testis) account for 40% of cases.
Ovarian GCTs:
Represent 30% of GCTs and 70% of neoplastic ovarian masses, being the most common ovarian neoplasms in children and teenagers. Benign and immature forms (teratomas) constitute about 80% of all ovarian GCTs, malignant forms represent 20% increasing during adolescence. The most common malignant entity in children is the yolk sac tumors (YST); dysgerminoma is frequent during adolescence and being bilateral in 10% of cases. Presentation is similar in malignant and benign lesions; abdominal pain (70-80%) and lower abdominal mass are common symptoms. Evaluation of alpha-fetoprotein (αFP) or beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (βHCG) is essential to address the nature of the tumors: Their elevation means presence of malignancy. Surgery includes intraoperative staging procedures and requires ovariectomy or ovarosalpingectomy for malignant lesions, but may be conservative in selected benign tumors. Since malignant GCTs are very chemosensitive, primary chemotherapy is recommended in metastatic or locally advanced tumors.
Testicular GCT:
Represent 10% of pediatric GCT, and about 30% of malignant GCT with two age peaks: Children <3 years may experience mature teratoma and malignant GCTs, represented almost exclusively by YST, while adolescents may also show seminomas or other mixed tumors. The main clinical feature is a painless scrotal mass. Surgery represents the cornerstone of the management of testicular GCTs, with an inguinal approach and a primary high orchidectomy for malignant tumors, while a testis-sparing surgery can be considered for benign lesions. A retroperitoneal lymph node (LN) biopsy may be necessary to define the staging when the involvement of retroperitoneal LN is uncertain at imaging investigations.
Patients with gonadal malignant GCTs fare better than those with extragonadal mediastinal germ cell tumors (MGCTs) and survival rate exceeds 90% in localized forms. Chemotherapy has significantly improved the outcome of malignant forms since the introduction of platinum based regimens. The surgical procedure has to be performed in agreement with the ongoing protocols.
PMCID: PMC4204242  PMID: 25336799
Children; germ cell tumors; gonadal
2.  The Multifaceted Granulosa Cell Tumours—Myths and Realities: A Review 
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology  2012;2012:878635.
Background. Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs), representing ~2% of ovarian tumours, are poorly understood neoplasms with unpredictable and undetermined biological behaviour. Design. 5 unusual presentations of GCT and a retrospective 14-year (1997–2011) surgical pathology review based on patient sex, age, tumour type and concurrent pathology findings are presented to discuss the “myths and realities” of GCTs in the context of relevant evidence-based literature. Results. The 5 index cases included (1) a 5 month-old boy with a left testicular mass, (2) a 7-day-old neonate with a large complex cystic mass in the abdomen, (3) a 76-year-old woman with an umbilical mass, (4) a 64-year-old woman with a complex solid-cystic pelvic mass, and (5) a 45 year-old woman with an acute abdomen. Pathological analysis confirmed the final diagnosis as (1) juvenile GCT, (2) macrofollicular GCT, (3) recurrent GCT 32 years later, (4) collision tumour: colonic adenocarcinoma and GCT, and (5) ruptured GCT. Conclusion. GCT is best considered as an unusual indolent neoplasm of low malignant potential with late recurrences that can arise in the ovaries and testicles in both the young and the old. Multifaceted clinical presentations coupled with the unpredictable biological behaviour with late relapses are diagnostic pitfalls necessitating a high degree of suspicion for accurate clinical and pathological diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3449135  PMID: 23008780
3.  A recurrent granulosa cell tumor of the ovary 25 years after the initial diagnosis: A case report 
•We experienced a rare case of lately recurrent granulosa cell tumors.•Granulosa cell tumors rarely metastasize to the liver.•Diagnostic laparoscopy is useful for definitive diagnosis.•Aggressive therapy may contribute of the patient’s long-term prognosis.
Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) are rare functional sex-cord-stromal ovarian neoplasms characterized by low malignancy potential and late relapse, which rarely metastasize to the liver.
Presentation of case
A 43-year-old female, who had undergone surgery to treat a GCT of the left ovary in 1976, complained of abdominal distention in May 2001. Imaging studies demonstrated masses in the right lobe of the liver, together with massive ascites. The patient’s bloody ascites showed no cytological evidence of malignancy. A diagnostic laparoscopy was performed, and the biopsy specimen was histologically proven to be a recurrent granulosa cell tumor. The patient was successfully treated surgery followed by systemic chemotherapy. Her postoperative course was uneventful and systemic chemotherapy was repeated due to the suspicion of a recurrence in the pelvic cavity.
GCTs which are rare malignant tumors of the ovary, tend to be associated with late recurrence. Although most recurrences occur within 10 years after the initial diagnosis, there are occasional reports of recurrences after 10 years have been. We experienced the rare case of a patient who relapsed 25 years after the initial diagnosis.
The long natural history of this disease highlights the importance of extended follow up for GCT patients. In addition, aggressive therapy including surgery and chemotherapy may contribute to a patient’s long-term prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4485684  PMID: 25979613
Granulosa cell tumor; Metastatic liver tumor; Diagnostic laparoscopy; Recurrence
4.  Recent Advances in Granulosa Cell Tumor Ovary: A Review 
Granulosa cell tumors constitute less than 5 % of all ovarian tumors. Unlike epithelial ovarian tumors, they occur in a younger age group, are usually detected in an early stage and often have features of hyperestrogenism. The presenting symptoms are usually nonspecific with abdominal pain or distension. They follow an indolent course and are characterized by a long natural history. Mutation of FOXL2 (402C->G) seen in 97 % of adult GCT may be pathognomonic for adult GCT. Only stage of the disease has been consistently shown in various studies to affect survival of patients with GCT. The initial management of patients, for whom fertility is not an issue, is total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and removal of all gross disease. Nodal dissection is not a significant factor for survival and is not recommended in surgical staging of GCT. Fertility preserving surgery with unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is feasible in young patients with stage Ia GCT. Patients with early stage disease (stage I and II) have a very good prognosis with 5 year DFS and OS of 89 % and 99 % respectively and these groups of patients usually don’t require any postoperative treatment. Patients with stage Ic disease associated with poor prognostic factors like large tumor size or high mitotic index and stage II, have a higher chance of relapse, and may benefit with postoperative treatment but role of chemotherapy is still debatable. In advanced stage disease (stage III and IV) the 5 year DFS and OS disease was 72 % and 80 % respectively hence the option of postoperative treatment with 6 cycles of BEP should be considered in this group. Recently paclitaxel is being investigated as an effective tool in GCT. The efficacy of radiation in GCT is not well defined but in optimally debulked cases postoperative radiation is a viable option. Due to high chance of recurrence even years after apparent clinical cure of the primary tumor, lifelong follow up with clinical examination and tumor markers like inhibin B is recommended. About 25 % GCT develop recurrence and the median time to recur is usually 4–5 years. Most recurrences are intraperitoneal and usually a complete debulking of the disease is feasible even in the recurrent setting. Postoperative chemotherapy (platinum based) is usually given after surgery more so in cases with widespread disease or after suboptimal cytoreduction. Recurrent chemoresistant, progressive non-responding GCT or patients with high surgical risk are ideal candidates for targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3578540  PMID: 24426698
Granulosa cell tumor; Inhibin B
5.  YAP Regulates Cell Proliferation, Migration, and Steroidogenesis in Adult Granulosa Cell Tumors 
Endocrine-related cancer  2014;21(2):297-310.
The Hippo signaling pathway has been implicated as a conserved regulator of organ size in both Drosophila and mammals. Yes associated protein (YAP), the central component of the Hippo signaling cascade, functions as an oncogene in several malignancies. Ovarian granulosa cell tumors (GCT) are characterized by enlargement of ovary, excess production of estrogen, high frequency of recurrence and potential of malignancy and metastasis. Whether the Hippo pathway plays a role in the pathogenesis of GCT is unknown. This study was conducted to examine the expression of YAP in human adult GCTs and to determine the role of YAP in the proliferation and steroidogenesis of GCT cells. Compared with age-matched normal human ovaries, GCT tissues exhibited higher levels of YAP expression. YAP protein was predominantly expressed in the nucleus of tumor cells, whereas the non-tumor ovarian stromal cells expressed very low levels of YAP. YAP was also expressed in cultured primary human granulosa cells and in KGN and COV434 GCT cell lines. siRNA-mediated knockdown of YAP in KGN cells resulted in a significant reduction in cell proliferation (P<0.001). Conversely, overexpression of wild-type YAP or a constitutively active YAP mutant resulted in a significant increase in KGN cell proliferation and migration. Moreover, YAP knockdown reduced FSH-induced aromatase (CYP19A1) protein expression and estrogen production in KGN cells. These results demonstrate that YAP plays an important role in regulating GCT cell proliferation, migration and steroidogenesis. Targeting the Hippo/YAP pathway may provide a novel therapeutic approach for GCT.
PMCID: PMC4222524  PMID: 24389730
Hippo/YAP pathway; granulosa cell tumor; cell proliferation; steroidogenesis; migration
6.  Serum Müllerian Inhibiting Substance/anti-Müllerain Hormone levels in patients with adult granulosa cell tumors directly correlates with aggregate tumor mass as determined by pathology or radiology 
Gynecologic oncology  2009;114(1):57-60.
Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) comprise 2–5% of ovarian tumors. Serum Müllerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS, also known as anti-Müllerian Hormone, or AMH) levels have been validated as a marker of GCT recurrence and progression. There has been little correlation between serum MIS/AMH levels several clinical parameters in GCTs, including tumor burden. We have performed a retrospective review correlating aggregate tumor mass as reported by pathologic examination or by radiology with serum MIS/AMH levels drawn on the date of examination.
We retrospectively identified 32 GCT patients at our institution over the last 15 years who had serum MIS/AMH measurements. Patients who had serum MIS/AMH measurements within three days of surgery or on the same day as abdominal computerized tomography scan (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were further evaluated.
We found a significant direct correlation between patient serum MIS/AMH levels and gross aggregate tumor mass determined by pathology (slope=15.4±6.06, r=0.65, p<0.04) or by radiographic aggregate tumor mass for all data points identified (slope=0.07±0.03, r=0.33, p<0.04) and after correcting for selection bias (slope=1.45±0.17, r=0.93, p<0.01). We also identified a significant difference between serum MIS/AMH levels between samples drawn the same day as negative and positive abdominal CT or MRI scans (8.16±1.54 vs. 158.7±32.2 ng/ml, p<0.0001).
These data indicate a significant direct correlation between serum MIS/AMH levels and both gross and radiographic aggregate tumor mass in GCT patients. Together with the current literature, the present data argues for a more prominent role for serum MIS/AMH in the management of GCTs.
PMCID: PMC2756071  PMID: 19359032
7.  Transforming Growth Factor Alpha (TGFα) Regulates Granulosa Cell Tumor (GCT) Cell Proliferation and Migration through Activation of Multiple Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48299.
Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) are the most common ovarian estrogen producing tumors, leading to symptoms of excessive estrogen such as endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial adenocarcinoma. These tumors have malignant potential and often recur. The etiology of GCT is unknown. TGFα is a potent mitogen for many different cells. However, its function in GCT initiation, progression and metastasis has not been determined. The present study aims to determine whether TGFα plays a role in the growth of GCT cells. KGN cells, which are derived from an invasive GCT and have many features of normal granulosa cells, were used as the cellular model. Immunohistochemistry, Western blot and RT-PCR results showed that the ErbB family of receptors is expressed in human GCT tissues and GCT cell lines. RT-PCR results also indicated that TGFα and EGF are expressed in the human granulosa cells and the GCT cell lines, suggesting that TGFα might regulate GCT cell function in an autocrine/paracrine manner. TGFα stimulated KGN cell DNA synthesis, cell proliferation, cell viability, cell cycle progression, and cell migration. TGFα rapidly activated EGFR/PI3K/Akt and mTOR pathways, as indicated by rapid phosphorylation of Akt, TSC2, Rictor, mTOR, P70S6K and S6 proteins following TGFα treatment. TGFα also rapidly activated the EGFR/MEK/ERK pathway, and P38 MAPK pathways, as indicated by the rapid phosphorylation of EGFR, MEK, ERK1/2, P38, and CREB after TGFα treatment. Whereas TGFα triggered a transient activation of Akt, it induced a sustained activation of ERK1/2 in KGN cells. Long-term treatment of KGN cells with TGFα resulted in a significant increase in cyclin D2 and a decrease in p27/Kip1, two critical regulators of granulosa cell proliferation and granulosa cell tumorigenesis. In conclusion, TGFα, via multiple signaling pathways, regulates KGN cell proliferation and migration and may play an important role in the growth and metastasis of GCTs.
PMCID: PMC3498304  PMID: 23155381
8.  The G-Protein-Coupled Estrogen Receptor (GPER/GPR30) in Ovarian Granulosa Cell Tumors 
Ovarian granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) are thought to arise from cells of the ovarian follicle and comprise a rare entity of ovarian masses. We recently identified the G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER/GPR30) to be present in granulosa cells, to be regulated by gonadotropins in epithelial ovarian cancer and to be differentially expressed throughout folliculogenesis. Thus, supposing a possible role of GPER in GCTs, this study aimed to analyze GPER in GCTs. GPER immunoreactivity in GCTs (n = 26; n (primary diagnosis) = 15, n (recurrence) = 11) was studied and correlated with the main clinicopathological variables. Positive GPER staining was identified in 53.8% (14/26) of GCTs and there was no significant relation of GPER with tumor size or lymph node status. Those cases presenting with strong GPER intensity at primary diagnosis showed a significant reduced overall survival (p = 0.002). Due to the fact that GPER is regulated by estrogens, as well as gonadotropins, GPER may also be affected by endocrine therapies applied to GCT patients. Moreover, with our data supposing GPER to be associated with GCT prognosis, GPER might be considered as a possible confounder when assessing the efficacy of hormone-based therapeutic approaches in GCTs.
PMCID: PMC4200831  PMID: 25167139
GPER; GPR30; ovarian granulosa cell tumor
9.  Extraovarian Granulosa Cell Tumor of Mesentery: A Case Report 
Extraovarian granulosa cell tumor (GCT) is a very uncommon tumor, assumed to arise from the ectopic gonadal tissue along the embryonal route of the genital ridge. A 54 years old female patient presented with a mass and acute pain in abdomen. Exploratory laparatomy revealed hemoperitoneum with a large mesenteric mass measuring 13 × 12 cm in size, showing extensive areas of haemorrhages. Histopathological examination of the excised mass showed features of adult-type GCT. As the patient had a history of hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy 10 years ago for ‘‘leiomyoma” with no evidence of GCT of the ovary in the histopathology report, a diagnosis of extraovarian GCT was made. A diagnosis of extraovarian GCT should be carried out after excluding any previous history of GCT of the ovary. Tumor rupture with haemoperitoneum is a well-known complication of GCT. Extraovarian GCT is a rare tumor with only 10 cases reported in literature. The case is presented for its rarity.
PMCID: PMC2997286  PMID: 21152176
10.  TLR4 activates NFkB in human ovarian granulosa tumor cells 
Previous studies have demonstrated expression of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in the surface epithelium of normal ovaries (OSE) and in epithelial ovarian tumors. Most notably, OSE-derived cancers express TLR4, which activates the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling cascade as a mediator of inflammatory response. Currently, there is considerable interest in elucidating the role of TLR-mediated signaling in cancers. Nevertheless, the expression of TLRs in granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) of the ovary, and the extent to which GCT expression of TLRs may influence cell-signaling pathways and/or modulate the efficacy of chemotherapeutics, has yet to be determined. In the present study, human GCT lines (COV434 and KGN) were utilized to evaluate expression of functional TLR4. TLR4 is expressed in GCT cell lines and ligation of TLR4 with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) led to IκB degradation and activation of NF-κB. NF-κB activation was confirmed by nuclear localization of NF-κB p65 following treatment with LPS and the naturally occurring ligand, HSP60. Notably, immunoneutralization of TLR4 blocked nuclear localization, and inhibition of NF-κB signaling attenuated LPS-induced TNFαplus increased doubling time in both cell lines. Contradictory to reports using human OSE cell lines, inhibition of NF-κB signaling failed to sensitize GCT lines to TRAIL or cisplatin. In summary, findings herein are the first to demonstrate a functional TLR-signaling pathway specifically in GCTs, and indicate that in contrast to OSE-derived cancers, inhibition of NF-κB does not sensitize GCTs to TRAIL or cisplatin.
PMCID: PMC3118942  PMID: 21616060
Granulosa cell tumor; Toll-like receptor; TLR; ovary; LPS; lipopolysaccharide
11.  Chromosome X loci and spontaneous granulosa cell tumor development in SWR mice 
Epigenetics  2013;8(2):184-191.
Females of the SWR/Bm (SWR) inbred mouse strain possess a unique susceptibility to juvenile-onset tumors originating from the granulosa cells (GC) of the ovarian follicles. Tumor susceptibility is an inherited, polygenic trait in SWR females, minimally involving an oncogenic Granulosa cell tumor susceptibility (Gct) locus on chromosome (Chr) 4 (Gct1), and two GC tumor susceptibility modifier genes mapped to distinct regions of Chr X (Gct4 and Gct6). Shifts in the frequency of GC tumor initiation in the SWR female population from low penetrance to moderate penetrance, or phenotype switching between GC tumor-susceptible and GC tumor-resistant, is strongly influenced by the allelic contributions at Gct4 and Gct6. In addition to the allele-specific effects, GC tumor susceptibility is controlled by the mode of X-linked transmission with a dominant, paternal parent-of-origin effect. We took advantage of the robust paternal effect with a recombinant male progeny testing strategy to resolve the Gct4 locus interval to 1.345 million base (Mb) pairs. Based on the mapping resolution and the phenotype sensitivity to endogenous and exogenous androgen exposure, a promising candidate for Gct4 identity is the androgen receptor (Ar) gene. We explored the mechanism of allelic variation for Ar between SWR (low penetrance allele) and SJL/Bm (SJL) (moderate penetrance allele) using an SWR.SJL-X congenic strain resource and a quantitative gene expression method. We report the low GC tumor penetrance allele of the SWR strain correlates with significantly reduced Ar transcript levels in the female ovary at the pubertal transition.
PMCID: PMC3592904  PMID: 23299801
granulosa cell tumor; tumor susceptibility allele; parent-of-origin effect
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(Suppl 3):iii23.
BACKGROUND: Intracranial germ cell tumors (iGCTs) are rare in the Western countries, however they are the second most common brain tumors in patients under 14 in Japan. Unlike other common pediatric brain tumors, the biology of iGCTs is largely unknown. METHODS: We performed a whole exome sequencing in a large series of iGCTs to elucidate their molecular pathogenesis. A total of 198 germ cell tumors (GCTs) including 133 iGCTs (69 pure germinomas, 56 NGGCTs and 8 metastatic tumors) as well as 65 testicular germ cell tumors (tGCTs) (39 seminomas and 26 non-seminoma GCTs) were collected from 13 centers participating in the Intracranial Germ Cell Tumor Consortium in Japan. Somatic mutations in all coding exons were investigated by whole exome sequencing (WES) in 41 tumors and the matched normal DNAs. Based on the WES data, 41 candidate genes were selected according to the frequency and/or significance of the mutations found. All coding exons of these 41 genes spanning over 160kb were PCR-amplified in a further 157 GCTs and sequenced using the IonTorrent system. The results were integrated with the patients' clinical information that was available for 124 iGCT patients. RESULTS: On average, 15.4 non-synonymous somatic mutations were observed in each tumor, ranging from 1 to 140 by WES in 41 iGCTs. The combined WES and IonTorrent screenings showed that KIT was the most frequently mutated gene in both iGCTs (27%) and tGCTs (18%). MTOR was the second most frequently mutated also in both iGCTs (7%) and tGCTs (6%). RAS mutations (KRAS, HRAS, NRAS) were altogether found in 13% of iGCTs and 12% of tGCTs. These mutations were mutually exclusive to each other and also to KIT mutations. Collectively, the genes involved in the MAPK pathway (e.g., KIT, RAS, NF1) and the PI3K/MTOR pathway (e.g., MTOR, PTEN) were mutated in 44% and 13% of all GCTs. Among the iGCTs, these alterations were significantly more common among pure germinomas than NGGCTs. The mutated MTOR protein was shown to have increased kinase activity, which was suppressed by specific MTOR inhibitors. CONCLUSIONS: Our comprehensive mutational genomic analysis of GCTs revealed that alterations of the MAPK and/or PI3K/MTOR pathways play a critical role in the pathogenesis of both iGCTs and tGCTs, although the extent of their involvement depends on the histopathological subtypes. Our findings will hopefully lead to the development of a targeted therapy for treatment-resistant iGCTs. SECONDARY CATEGORY: Tumor Biology.
PMCID: PMC4144564
13.  P32 - A Case of Multicentric Giant Cell Tumours with 25-Year Follow Up 
Giant cell tumour of bone (GCT) is a relatively rare benign bone tumour more frequent in young people (20–40 years). Histologically, two cell types are represented, stromal cells of osteoblastic origin and a distinctive osteoclast-like population probably of monocytic origin. GCTs can be aggressive and they recur locally in up to 50% of cases; up to 5% of GCTs metastasise to the lungs and spontaneous transformation to a high-grade malignancy occurs in 1–3% of patients. The aetiology of GCT is not known, and no risk factors have been recognised, although familial clustering of both Paget’s disease and GCT has been reported.
GCTs account for approximately 3–5% of primary bone tumours. GCT is rarely multicentric and usually occurs at the epiphyses of long bones, but may also affect other bones.
There are few randomised, prospective clinical trials available to guide clinical management of GCT. Recent developments have led to evaluation of newer therapeutic agents, including biphosphonates and denosumab, with encouraging results. We report the case of a 66-year-old woman affected by GCT. In 1985 the patient, then 41 years old, presented a cystic lesion on her left tibia, which was removed surgically. This lesion relapsed two years later. Therefore the patient was hospitalised and received a diagnosis of “multicentric giant cell bone lesions” (limb-girdle, sternum, mandible, ribs), confirmed by histological examination. These lesions showed hyperactivity on bone scintigraphy. Plain radiographs demonstrated destructive lytic lesions. Blood and urinary examinations showed markedly elevated levels of bone alkaline phosphatase and urine pyridinoline and there was persistent bone pain. In 1993 normocalcaemic primary hyperparathyroidism was diagnosed and an adenoma was removed, with no relapse of the disease. Subsequently the patient started clodronate therapy, i.v., followed by alendronate-neridronate per os and clodronate i.m. for about nine years. Biphosphonate therapy caused a modest and transient decrease in bone indexes. Initial bone lesions were unchanged on computed tomography 25 years after diagnosis, but new bone lesions had appeared. MEN1 gene and CasR analyses were negative.
This is a rare case of a patient affected by multicentric giant cell tumours with a 25-year follow up. A slow progression of the lesion is documented, as well as the absence of significant effect of biphosphonate therapy.
PMCID: PMC3213768
14.  Granular Cell Tumor of the Cervical Esophagus: Case Report and Literature Review of an Unusual Cause of Dysphagia 
Head and Neck Pathology  2012;7(3):274-279.
Granular cell tumors (GCT) of the head and neck are not uncommon; however, involvement of the cervical esophagus is rare. Characterized by an infiltrative growth pattern, these benign tumors are historically difficult to surgically excise and are radioresistant. We present here a case of dysphagia caused by a GCT of the cervical esophagus. Work up with ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration was suggestive of a GCT due to the presence of cohesive cells with granular cytoplasm that were S-100 and CD68 positive with immunostaining, and PAS positive with histochemistry. Resection required removal of a portion of the muscular wall of the esophagus sparing the overlying mucosa. The patient is currently asymptomatic and without recurrence after 10 month follow-up. Review of the literature revealed 19 reports of cervical esophageal GCTs. There is a female preponderance (75 %), with an average age of 41 years. Dysphagia and weight loss are the most common presenting symptoms. The average tumor size on presentation was 2.7 cm, with symptomatic tumors being significantly larger than asymptomatic lesions; the latter was present in 25 % of patients. Concurrent GCTs in the upper aerodigestive tract were identified in 35 % of cases. Approximately 30 % of tumors required segmental cervical esophageal resection. The purpose of this report is to describe the epidemiology and treatment of GCTs of the cervical esophagus. Lesions should be addressed early with complete surgical excision to prevent growth necessitating more morbid surgery. Due to the high rate of concurrent GCTs, upper endoscopy is advised in the workup of these patients.
PMCID: PMC3738753  PMID: 23143390
Granular cell tumor; Cervical esophagus; Management; Dysphagia
15.  Either Kras activation or Pten loss similarly enhance the dominant-stable CTNNB1-induced genetic program to promote granulosa cell tumor development in the ovary and testis 
Oncogene  2011;31(12):1504-1520.
WNT, PI3K or RAS signaling pathways control specific stages of ovarian follicular development. To analyze the functional interactions of these pathways in granulosa cells during follicular development in vivo, we generated specific mutant mouse models. Stable activation of the WNT signaling effector beta-catenin (CTNNB1) in granulosa cells results in the formation of premalignant lesions that develop into granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) spontaneously later in life or following targeted deletion of the tumor suppressor gene Pten. Conversely, expression of oncogenic KRASG12D dramatically arrests proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis in granulosa cells, and consequently, small abnormal follicle-like structures devoid of oocytes accumulate in the ovary. Because of the potent anti-proliferative effects of KRASG12D in granulosa cells, we sought to determine if KRASG12D would block precancerous lesion and tumor formation in follicles of the CTNNB1 mutant mice. Unexpectedly, transgenic Ctnnb1;Kras mutant mice exhibited increased GC proliferation, decreased apoptosis and impaired differentiation and developed early-onset GCTs leading to premature death in a manner similar to the Ctnnb1;Pten mutant mice. Microarray and RT-PCR analyses revealed that gene regulatory processes induced by CTNNB1 were mostly enhanced by either KRAS activation or Pten loss in remarkably similar patterns and degree. The concomitant activation of CTNNB1 and KRAS in Sertoli cells also caused testicular granulosa cell tumors that showed gene expression patterns that partially overlapped those observed in GCTs of the ovary. Although the mutations analyzed herein have not yet been linked to adult GCTs in humans, 1) other components of these pathways may be altered or mutated, 2) these mutations may relate to juvenile GCTs or 3) they may occur in tumors of other tissues where CTNNB1 is mutated. Importantly, our results provide strong evidence that CTNNB1 is the driver in these contexts and that KRASG12D and Pten loss promote the program set in motion by the CTNNB1.
PMCID: PMC3223552  PMID: 21860425
CTNNB1; KRAS; PTEN; granulosa cell tumor; ovary; testis
16.  Sequential bilateral testicular tumours presenting with intervals of 20 years and more 
BMC Urology  2013;13:71.
About 3 – 5% of all patients with testicular germ cell tumour (GCT) develop a contralateral cancer, the majority of which arise within 10–15 years. Little is known about the risk of second GCTs after more than two decades. Here we present 3 cases with very late presenting contralateral GCT and provide a summary of similar cases reported previously.
Case presentations
(1) This white Caucasian man underwent right-sided orchiectomy for a nonseminomatous GCT at the age of 22 years. Additional treatment consisted of retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) and chemotherapy with 4 cycles of vinblastin / bleomycin. 36 years later, contralateral seminoma clinical stage 1 developed. Cure was achieved by orchiectomy. Histologically, testicular intraepithelial neoplasia (TIN; intratubular germ cell neoplasia) was detected in the tumour-surrounding tissue.
(2) This white Caucasian male had right-sided orchiectomy for nonseminomatous GCT at the age of 29 years. Pathological stage 1 was confirmed by RPLND. 25 years later, he received left sided orchiectomy for seminoma stage 1. Histologically, TIN was found in the tissue adjacent to seminoma. Two brothers had testicular GCT, too, one with bilateral GCT. (3) This 21 year old white Caucasian man underwent left-sided orchiectomy for nonseminomatous GCT. Pathological stage 1 was confirmed by RPLND. 21 years later, he received organ-preserving excision of a right-sided seminoma, followed by BEP chemotherapy for stage 3 disease. Histologically, TIN was found in the surrounding testicular tissue.
22 cases of bilateral GCT with intervals of 20 or more years have previously been reported, thereof three with intervals of more than 30 years, the longest interval being 40 years.
Apart from increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and non-testicular malignancies, patients with GCT face the specific probability of a second GCT in the long run. This risk persists life-long and is not eliminated by chemotherapy. Contralateral testicular biopsy can identify patients at risk by revealing precursor cells of GCT though false-negative biopsies may occur sporadically. However, in view of the multi-facetted late hazards of GCT patients, this minor surgical procedure might somewhat simplify the long-time care of these patients.
PMCID: PMC4028980  PMID: 24321309
Testicular germ cell neoplasms; Bilateral tumours; Testicular biopsy; Seminoma; Familial germ cell tumours
17.  Adult Type Granulosa Cell Tumor: A Very Rare Case of Sex-Cord Tumor of the Testis with Review of the Literature 
Case Reports in Pathology  2013;2013:932086.
Granulosa cell tumor (GST) is a sex-cord/stromal neoplasm of the gonads, more commonly arising in the ovaries, while approximately 80 cases have been reported in the testes. Out of these, 30 cases were of the adult type, while the remainder 50 cases were of the juvenile type. The latter mostly concerned infants and followed a benign course. However, the adult type testicular GCTs may be potentially malignant as it also happens in female patients with such neoplasms. We present a case of an adult type GCT located at the left testis. The patient was subjected to total orchiectomy and received no further treatment. Histology showed typical GCT histomorphology with Call-Exner bodies in some places. The immunoprofile of the tumor was CD99 (+), calretinin (+), inhibin (+), alpha smooth muscle actin (+), vimentin (+), ER (−), PR (−), keratin AE1/AE3 (−), alpha fetoprotein (−), CD117 (−), and placental alkaline phosphatase (−). Two years after surgery, the patient is alive and well with no signs of recurrence.
PMCID: PMC3670554  PMID: 23762714
18.  Predictors of viable germ cell tumor in postchemotherapeutic residual retroperitoneal masses 
Urology Annals  2014;6(1):27-30.
The aim of this study was to identify predictors of viable germ cell tumor (GCT) in postchemotherapeutic residual retroperitoneal masses.
Materials and Methods:
The pertinent clinical and pathologic data of 16 male patients who underwent postchemotherapeutic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (PC-RPLND) at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre between 1994 and 2005 were reviewed retrospectively. It was found that all patients received cisplatin-based chemotherapy for advanced testicular GCT.
Out of the 16 male patients, 2 (13%), 8 (50%), and 6 (37%) had viable GCT, fibrosis, and teratoma, respectively. Ten (10) of the patients with prechemotherapeutic S1 tumor markers did not have viable GCT, and two of the six patients who had prechemotherapeutic S2 tumor markers have viable GCT. All tumor marker levels normalized after chemotherapy even in patients with viable GCT. Four patients had vascular invasion without viable GCT. Furthermore, four patients had more than 60% embryonal elements in the original pathology, but only 1 had viable GCT at PC-RPLND. Four of the five patients with immature teratoma had teratoma at PC-RPLND but no viable GCT; however, out of the four patients with mature teratoma, one had viable GCT and two had teratoma at PC-RPLND. Of the two patients with viable GCT, one had 100% embryonal cancer in the original pathology, prechemotherapeutic S2 tumor markers, history of orchiopexy, and no vascular invasion; the other patient had yolk sac tumor with 25% embryonal elements and 40% teratoma in the original pathology, and prechemotherapeutic S2 tumor markers.
None of the clinical or pathological parameters showed a strong correlation with the presence of viable GCT in PC-RPLND. However, patients with ≥S2 may be at higher risk to have viable GCT. Further studies are needed to clarify this.
PMCID: PMC3963339  PMID: 24669118
Chemotherapy; germ cell tumor; predictor; retroperitoneal lymph node dissection
19.  Granular cell tumor of the appendix: a new case and review of the literature 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:649.
Granular cell tumor (GCT) is a rare and usually benign lesion of neural / schwannian origin, most frequently found in middle-age women. The appendicular involvement is extremely rare: in over half a century only twelve cases have been reported in the literature, the patients living in America and Europe. Hitherto, no cases are documented from Africa, Asia and Oceania and no cases of malignant GCTs of the appendix have been reported.
Most patients were diagnosed preoperatively as having acute appendicitis, whereas in three patients the tumor was incidentally detected during major abdominal surgery. The GCTs were equally distributed between mid-appendix and tip, where lymphoid tissue is more abundant and the anatomical nerve supply is progressively reduced. Moreover, the appendix surrounding the GCTs is characterized by the presence of chronic inflammatory cells (histiocytes, plasmocytes, eosinophils, mastocytes) and, therefore, a chronic inflammation of the appendix may be an antecedent condition favouring the appearance of GCTs. The GCT of the appendix appears so to be a lesion that reflects local reactive changes in the neural / schwannian cells, rather than being a genuine neoplasm. We describe the smallest GCT of the appendix ever reported, with a detailed literature review supporting its reactive origin in the lymphatic tissue-rich sites, such as ileo cecal appendix.
PMCID: PMC3862858  PMID: 24349953
Granular cell tumor; Ileocecal appendix; Chronic appendicitis; Segmented peritonitis; Oncologic management
20.  The new molecular biology of granulosa cell tumors of the ovary 
Genome Medicine  2009;1(8):81.
Granulosa cell tumors (GCTs) of the ovary belong to the group of ovarian sex-cord stromal tumors and represent 5 to 10% of ovarian malignancies. GCTs exhibit several morphological, biochemical and hormonal features of normal proliferating pre-ovulatory granulosa cells, such as estrogen biosynthesis. Prognostic factors of this condition are lacking, and alternative treatment options to preserve future fertility are needed. Several groups have shown that two genetic factors implicated in GCTs are of particular interest. The gsp oncogene is a constitutive activating mutation of the prognosis of the tumor. FOXL2 is a transcription factor gene involved in ovarian development and function, whose expression is reduced and which is mutated in the majority of GCTs. FOXL2 appears to play a major role in cell cycle regulation. These recent findings open new pathophysiological insights into GCT development as well as revisitation of granulosa cell and ovarian function.
PMCID: PMC2768967  PMID: 19725933
21.  Clinicopathological and immunohistochemical features of primary central nervous system germ cell tumors: a 24-years experience 
Primary central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors (GCTs) are a rare heterogeneous group of lesions, which the clinicopathological features have a marked degree of heterogeneity comparing with that of gonadal GCTs. Accurately diagnosing CNS GCTs might be extremely difficult and requires immunohistochemical verification. This study was to investigate the biological feature of CNS GCTs and diagnostic value of immunohistochemical markers OCT3/4, C-kit, PLAP, and CD30 in CNS GCTs. A retrospective study was performed on 34 patients with CNS germ cell tumors between 1990 and 2014. 34 CNS GCTs account for 9.2% of all primary CNS neoplasms. The sellar region (35.3%) and pineal gland (17.6%) were the most common sites of intracranial GCTs. Hydrocephalus (82.4%) and diplopia (46.9%) were the two most common clinical presentations. The most common histological subtypes were germinoma (67.6%). PLAP, c-kit, OCT3/4 were highly expressed in gernimomas. CD30 and CK AE1/3 stainings were positive in embryonal carcinoma. Yolk sac tumor component showed positive staining for AFP and CK AE1/3. β-HCG staining was positive in choriocarcinoma and STGC. Patients with mature teratomas and germinomas had a better prognosis (a 5-year survival rate) than those with embryonal carcinoma and choriocarcinoma (a 5-year survival rates were 0). Our finding suggest that the incidences of primary CNS GCTs are higher in South China than in the West, but mixed GCTs are uncommon in our study. The judicious use of a panel of selected markers is helpful in diagnosing and predicting the prognosis for CNS GCTs.
PMCID: PMC4230147  PMID: 25400782
Central nervous system; germ cell tumors; C-kit; PLAP; OCT3/4; CD30
22.  Granular cell tumor of the thyroid: Clinical and pathological characteristics of a rare case in a 14-year-old girl 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(2):777-779.
Granular cell tumors (GCTs) are soft tissue neoplasms that originate in the nervous system, which may arise anywhere in the body. However, GCTs are extremely uncommon in thyroid tumors, with a favorable prognosis. The diagnosis of GCTs is dependent on pathological and immunohistochemical analysis and at present, surgical resection is considered the only suitable treatment. Regular follow-up after surgery is an important way to monitor treatment outcome and recurrence. The present study describes a new pathological type of thyroid GCTs diagnosed by pathology and immunohistochemistry. A 14-year-old female was referred to the West China Hospital of Sichuan University (Chengdu, China), for thyroid incidentaloma. Laboratory examinations were within the normal range. Thyroid sonography demonstrated a solid hypoechoic mass in the right lobe of the thyroid. Fine needle aspiration cytology showed a suspicious malignant tumor and subsequently a total thyroidectomy was performed. Analysis of frozen sections, from obtained samples, did not facilitate a definite diagnosis. Finally, a thyroid benign granular tumor with atypical changes was diagnosed by postoperative pathology and immunohistochemistry. A 14-month post-operative follow-up showed that the patient experienced a stable recovery and had no signs of recurrence or metastasis. The case emphasizes that the diagnosis of thyroid granular cell tumors is predominantly based on postoperative morphology and immunophenotype. The clinical routine for the differential diagnosis may be due to: (i) neoplasms displaying a granular appearance mimicking granular cell tumors, or (ii) differential diagnosis in the pathological category of granular cell tumors. Further accumulation of such rare cases may be of clinical significance in aiding the diagnosis and treatment of GCTs.
PMCID: PMC4301563  PMID: 25624902
granular cell tumor; thyroid; atypical; immunohistochemical staining
23.  Multifocal Metachronous Giant Cell Tumor: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Case Reports in Medicine  2014;2014:678035.
Introduction. Giant cell tumors (GCTs) of bone are known for their local aggressiveness and high recurrence rate. There are rare cases of multicentric GCT and most are synchronous. We herein review metachronous multicentric GCT reported in the literature. Material and Methods. A MEDLINE, Cochrane, and Google Scholar search was done to collect all cases of multicentric metachronous GCT specifying the clinical, radiological, and histological characteristics of each location and its treatment. Results. A total of 37 multifocal giant cell tumors were found in the literature. 68% of cases of multicentric giant cell tumors occur in less than 4 years following treatment of the first lesion. Thirty-seven cases of multifocal metachronous GCT were identified in the literature until 2012. Patients with multicentric GCT tend to be younger averaging 23. There is a slight female predominance in metachronous GCT. The most common site of the primary GCT is around the knee followed by wrist and hand and feet. Recurrence rate of multicentric GCT is 28.5%. Conclusion. Multicentric giant cell tumor is rare. The correct diagnosis relies on correlation of clinical and radiographic findings with confirmation of the diagnosis by histopathologic examination.
PMCID: PMC3912820  PMID: 24511316
24.  Diagnostic accuracy of integrated 18F-FDG PET/CT for restaging patients with malignant germ cell tumours 
The British Journal of Radiology  2014;87(1040):20140263.
Evaluation of utility of fluorine-18 fludeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography/CT (PET/CT) for restaging patients with primary malignant germ cell tumours (GCTs).
Data of 92 patients (age, 31.94 ± 10.1 years; male/female, 86/6) with histopathologically confirmed malignant GCTs (gonadal, 88; mediastinal, 4; seminomatous, 47 and non-seminomatous, 45) who underwent 18F-FDG PET/CT for restaging (suspected recurrence/post-therapy evaluation) were retrospectively analysed. Two experienced nuclear medicine physicians reviewed the PET/CT images in consensus, qualitatively and semi-quantitatively [maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax)]. Histopathology (if available) and clinical/imaging/biochemical follow-up (minimum of 6 months) were employed as the reference standard.
18F-FDG PET/CT was interpreted as positive in 59 and negative in 33 patients. Local disease was seen in 5, nodal disease in 50 and distant metastasis in 22 patients. PET/CT was true positive in 49, false positive in 10, true negative in 30 and false negative in 3 patients. 18F-FDG PET/CT showed sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and accuracy of 94.2%, 75.0%, 83.0%, 90.9% and 85.8% overall; 90.0%, 74.0%, 72.0%, 90.9% and 80.8% in seminomatous GCT; and 96.8%, 76.9%, 91.1%, 90.9% and 91.1% in non-seminomatous GCT, respectively. Difference in PET/CT accuracy for seminomatous and non-seminomatous GCTs was not significant (p = 0.263). PET/CT demonstrated disease in 13 patients with negative/equivocal conventional imaging findings and in 9 patients with normal tumour markers. No site- or histology-based difference was seen in SUVmax.
18F-FDG PET/CT demonstrates high diagnostic accuracy for restaging patients with malignant GCTs. It has comparable diagnostic performance in both seminomatous and non-seminomatous malignant GCTs.
Advances in knowledge:
The present article demonstrates high diagnostic accuracy of 18F-FDG PET/CT for restaging both seminomatous and non-seminomatous malignant GCTs in a large patient population.
PMCID: PMC4112389  PMID: 24896199
25.  FOXL2, GATA4, and SMAD3 Co-Operatively Modulate Gene Expression, Cell Viability and Apoptosis in Ovarian Granulosa Cell Tumor Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85545.
Aberrant ovarian granulosa cell proliferation and apoptosis may lead to granulosa cell tumors (GCT), the pathogenesis of which involves transcription factors GATA4, FOXL2, and SMAD3. FOXL2 gene harbors a point mutation (C134W) in a vast majority of GCTs. GATA4 is abundantly expressed in GCTs and its expression correlates with poor prognosis. The TGF-β mediator SMAD3 promotes GCT cell survival through NF-κB activation, and interacts with FOXL2. Here, we find that the expression patterns of these factors overlap in the normal human ovary and 90 GCTs, and positively correlate with each other and with their mutual target gene CCND2, which is a key factor for granulosa cell proliferation. We have explored the molecular interactions of FOXL2, GATA4, and SMAD3 and their roles in the regulation of CCND2 using co-immunoprecipitation, promoter transactivation, and cell viability assays in human GCT cells. We found that not only SMAD3, but also GATA4 physically interact with both wild type and C134W-mutated FOXL2. GATA4 and SMAD3 synergistically induce a 8-fold increase in CCND2 promoter transactivation, which is 50% reduced by both FOXL2 types. We confirmed that wild type FOXL2 significantly decreases cell viability. Interestingly, GATA4 and SMAD3 caused a marked reduction of GCT cell apoptosis induced by wild type FOXL2. Thus, the effects of GATA4 and SMAD3 on both cell viability and apoptosis are distinct from those of wild type FOXL2; a perturbation of this balance due to the oncogenic FOXL2 mutation is likely to contribute to GCT pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3887065  PMID: 24416423

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