Aim—To establish whether testicular germ cell tumours contain Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and if so to provide further evidence for the hypothesis that EBV plays a direct role in the pathogenesis of testicular germ cell tumours.
Method—Paraffin wax embedded tissue blocks from 21 germ cell tumours including 12 teratomas and nine classic seminomas were examined by in situ hybridisation for the expression of the small EBV encoded nuclear RNA transcripts (EBER-1 and -2) using isotopic and nonisotopic probes.
Results—There was no EBER specific signal detectable in any of the testicular germ cell tumours examined by in situ hybridisation whilst a strong signal was observed in appropriate control sections.
Conclusion—The absence of demonstrable EBER transcripts in testicular germ cell tumours make a direct role for EBV in the pathogenesis of these tumours unlikely. Other explanations for the epidemiological and serological evidence linking EBV with germ cell tumours need to be explored.
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