OBJECTIVE: To describe the establishment and characterization of a human cell line, SEM-1, from a patient diagnosed with a mediastinal seminoma.
METHODS: A small percentage of germ cell tumors develop as primary lesions in extragonadal sites, and the etiology of these tumors is poorly understood. Currently, only 2 cell lines from seminoma patients have been reported, JKT-1 and TCam-2, both derived from the testis. The cell line was characterized by heterotransplantation in Nude mice, cytogenetic studies, immunohistochemical and flow cytometry staining for germ cell tumor biomarkers, quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction for cancer testis antigen expression, and BRAF mutation screening with quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Characterization studies confirmed the human extragonadal seminoma origin of SEM-1 and demonstrated that it had more features in common with TCam-2 than JKT-1. Specifically, SEM-1 was positive for Sal-like protein 4 (SALL-4), activator protein-2γ (AP-2γ), and cytokeratin CAM5.2, and demonstrated heterogeneous expression of stem cell markers octamer-binding transcription factor 3/4, NANOG, c-KIT, SOX17, and SOX2. Cytogenetic analysis revealed a hypotriploid chromosome number, with multiple copies of 12p, but isochromosome 12p and the BRAF mutation V600E were not identified. The cell lines also did not contain the BRD4/NUT gene rearrangement [t(15,19)] seen in midline carcinomas nor did they contain overexpressed nuclear protein in testis (NUT) genes.
CONCLUSION: SEM-1 is the first cell line derived from an extragonadal germ cell tumor showing intermediate characteristics between seminoma and nonseminoma, and as such, is an important model to study the molecular pathogenesis of this malignancy.