Virchows Archiv

, Volume 472, Issue 3, pp 433–440 | Cite as

Expression of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) in classical seminoma: a potential diagnostic pitfall

  • Alexander Brobeil
  • Florian Wagenlehner
  • Stefan Gattenlöhner
Original Article


Seminomas are the most frequent testicular tumors and in spite of specific markers some histological subtypes can be diagnostically challenging due to the potential overlap of morphologic features and a variant antigen expression. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) is a DNA polymerase present in hematogones, thymic T cells, lymphoblastic lymphoma/leukemia (LBL), and in some cases of acute myeloid leukemia but so far has not been described to be expressed in seminomas. After observing a reactivity of TdT in one case of seminoma, we analyzed ten additional tumors by immunohistochemistry to determine their spectrum of reactivity for TdT. In all seminoma cases investigated (10/10) as well as in two tumor-associated germ cell neoplasias in situ (2/2) the TdT staining intensity was variable but was often moderate to strong and restricted to the nucleus. We conclude that TdT expression in seminomas could represent a diagnostic pitfall in the differential diagnosis of LBL, particularly because both may lack CD45 and/or CD20 expression and—concerning relapse in long-term survivors of testicular cancer—LBL is the most frequent secondary neoplasm in the patients.


Seminona TdT Acute leukemia Testis Aberrant Pitfall 



We specially thank Simone Eckhart, Heike Eckhart-Weber and Nicole Neuhaus for their excellent technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare that the study was done according to the ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PathologyJustus-Liebig-UniversityGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PathologyJustus-Liebig-UniversityGiessenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Urology, Pediatric Urology and AndrologyJustus-Liebig-UniversityGiessenGermany

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