Comparative molecular analysis of testicular Leydig cell tumors demonstrates distinct subsets of neoplasms with aggressive histopathologic features

Natalie M. Rizzo, Lynette M. Sholl, Muhammad T. Idrees, John C. Cheville, Sounak Gupta, Kristine M. Cornejo, Hiroshi Miyamoto, Michelle S. Hirsch, Katrina Collins, Andrés M. Acosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Testicular Leydig cell tumor (LCT), the most common sex-cord stromal tumor in men, represents a small fraction of all testicular tumors (~1 to 3%). Although most testicular LCTs are indolent and cured by radical orchiectomy, 5–10% have aggressive biology and metastatic potential. In primary LCTs, large size, cytologic atypia, necrosis, increased mitotic activity, and vascular invasion have been associated with clinically aggressive tumors. From a molecular perspective, the characteristics of aggressive LCTs and the differences between aggressive and nonaggressive LCTs remain largely unexplored. This study compares the genomic landscape of aggressive and nonaggressive testicular LCTs. Twenty-six cases were analyzed using next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) and immunohistochemistry. Cases were classified as aggressive LCT if they met published criteria for malignancy in primary (i.e., testicular) tumors or if they had pathology-proven metastatic disease; otherwise, cases were considered nonaggressive. This multi-institutional series included 18 aggressive LCTs (14 primary/testicular, 4 metastatic) and 8 nonaggressive LCTs. Two cases (2/26, 8%; both aggressive LCTs) failed sequencing and had negative (i.e., uninformative) FH immunohistochemistry results. One additional primary aggressive LCT failed sequencing but had informative FH immunohistochemistry results. Combined NGS and immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated FH inactivation in 5/26 cases (19%). In addition, NGS demonstrated CTNNB1 mutations or biallelic APC inactivation in 9/23 cases (39%), copy number changes without recurrent mutations in 6/23 (26%) cases, and no alterations in 4/23 cases (17%). CTNNB1 mutations were present in both aggressive and nonaggressive LCTs. In contrast, FH inactivation and multiple copy number changes were only identified in aggressive LCTs. In conclusion, three distinct subgroups of aggressive LCTs were characterized by FH inactivation, Wnt pathway activation, and copy number changes without recurrent mutations, respectively. Nuclear translocation of β-catenin and Wnt pathway activation appear to be early driver events that provide an environment conducive for progression to aggressive biology in a subset of LCTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1935-1946
Number of pages12
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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