Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are a cancer pharmacology success story with a majority of patients cured even in the highly advanced and metastatic setting. Successful treatment of TGCTs is primarily due to the exquisite responsiveness of this solid tumor to cisplatin-based therapy. However, a significant percentage of patients are, or become, refractory to cisplatin and die from progressive disease. Mechanisms for both clinical hypersensitivity and resistance have largely remained a mystery despite the promise of applying lessons to the majority of solid tumors that are not curable in the metastatic setting. Recently, this promise has been heightened by the realization that distinct (and perhaps pharmacologically replicable) epigenetic states, rather than fixed genetic alterations, may play dominant roles in not only TGCT etiology and progression but also their curability with conventional chemotherapies. In this review, it discusses potential mechanisms of TGCT cisplatin sensitivity and resistance to conventional chemotherapeutics.

Cancer drug resistance (Alhambra, Calif.). 2019 Sep 19 [Epub]

Ratnakar Singh, Zeeshan Fazal, Sarah J Freemantle, Michael J Spinella

Department of Comparative Biosciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.