IL-6 is elevated in testicular germ cell tumours, could be targeted to block cancer spread

Lead researcher

Professor Kate Loveland

Main finding

There is a correlation between the type of pathology in a man's testis and the kind of immune cells that are present. This information will help guide diagnosis and therapies for men who do not produce sperm or who have testicular germ cell tumours.


Centre for Reproductive Health

Research group

Germ Cell Biology and Testis Development


Ms Britta Klein
Dr T Haggeney
Dr. Danielle Fietz
Ms Sivanjah Indumathy
Professor Kate L. Loveland
Assoc Prof Mark Hedger
Professor Sabine Kliesch
Professor Wolfgang Weidner
Professor Martin Bergmann
Professor Hans-Christian Schuppe

Journal and article title

Most surprising

There is very little information about the characteristics of the immune cells in testes of men that do not produce sperm or that have germline tumours. We were suprised to discover just how different the two conditions are, particularly in testes with tumours where the presence of B cells and high levels of IL-6 and other cytokines are likely to contribute to progression of this malignancy.

Future implications

Our discovery that IL-6 levels are elevated in the testes harbouring germ cell tumours suggests that therapies that block IL-6 may the potential to restrict the survival, growth or spread of testicular germ cell tumours. This provides a new therapeutic approach for the most common solid tumour type in young men that may increase their potential to retain fertility and father children

Disease/health impact

Testicular cancer

Other points of interest

This work was performed by a PhD student who is part of our International Research Training Group in Male Reproductive Pathology with the University of Giessen, Germany.