BACKGROUND Many testicular germ cell cancers are curable despite metastatic disease, but about 10-15% of patients fail cisplatin-based first-line treatment. Immunotherapy is considered as additional treatment approach for these patients. Inhibition of the interaction between Programmed Death Receptor 1 (PD-1) and Programmed Death Receptor Ligand 1 (PD-L1) enhances T-cell responses in vitro and mediates clinical antitumour activity. We analysed the expression of PD-L1 in testicular germ cell tumours to evaluate its potential as target for immunotherapeutic strategies. METHODS Immunohistochemistry was performed in 479 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens using a rabbit monoclonal antibody (E1L3N). The tissue microarray consisted of 208 pure seminomas, 121 non-seminomas, 20 intratubular germ cell neoplasia unclassified (IGCNU) and 20 specimens of non-neoplastic testicular tissue. RESULTS Programmed Death Receptor Ligand-1 expression was found in 73% of all seminomas and in 64% of all non-seminomas. None of 20 IGCNU and none of 20 normal tissue specimens exhibited PD-L1 expression. PD-L1 positive stromal cells were only detected in seminomas, but not in non-seminomas. The anti PD-L1 antibody showed a pre-dominantly membranous staining pattern in testicular tumour cells, as well as expression in stromal cells. CONCLUSIONS This frequent expression of PD-L1 in human testicular germ cell tumours suggests that patients with testicular germ cell tumours could profit from immunotherapeutic strategies using anti-PD1 and anti-PDL1 antibodies.