Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Regulatory Biology



First Advisor

Tuohy, Vincent

Subject Headings

Biology, Biomedical Research


Testicular cancer mainly affects men between the ages of 20 and 35 but is the most common male neoplasm between the ages of 15 and 34. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that localized testicular cancer has a recurrence rate of 15-20% and tumors that are Sertoli or Leydig cell derived fail to respond to chemotherapy or radiation treatments. The recurrence rate may increase to 32% if at diagnosis the tumor is greater than 4 cm in size with invasion of the rete testes. To improve therapy for testicular cancer, we examined the usefulness of a testicular cancer vaccine. We reasoned that such a vaccine may strengthen the body’s natural oncologic defenses and assist in the elimination of local and systemic metastases. Also, the vaccine could be administered as adjuvant therapy in conjunction with current standard of care involving surgery and chemotherapy. Inhibin- is a protein involved in spermatogenesis and is secreted by Sertoli and Leydig cells of the testes. Inhibin- is also expressed in many testicular tumors. We found that vaccination against recombinant mouse inhibin- provides protection and therapy against transplantable I-10 mouse testicular tumors in male BALB/c mice. Similarly, we found that vaccination with the immunogenic p215-234 peptide of inhibin- (In 215-234) provides protection and therapy against the growth of autochthonous testicular tumors that grow spontaneously in male SJL.AMH-SV40Tag transgenic mice. Our results provide a rational basis for developing immune control of testicular cancer.