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Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors (GCTs)

Table 1. Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors by Age Group and Gendera

0–4 years5–9 years10–14 years15–19 years
a Rates are per million children from 1986 to 1995 for the nine SEER regions plus Los Angeles.

GCTs develop from primordial germ cells, which migrate during embryogenesis from the yolk sac through the mesentery to the gonads.[8,9] Childhood extracranial GCTs can be divided into gonadal and extragonadal types. Most childhood extragonadal GCTs arise in midline sites (i.e., sacrococcygeal, mediastinal, and retroperitoneal); the midline location may represent aberrant embryonic migration of the primordial germ cells.

The histologic and genetic properties of these tumors are heterogeneous and vary by primary tumor site and the gender and age of the patient.[10,11] Histologically identical GCTs that arise in younger children have different biological characteristics from those that arise in adolescents and young adults.[12]


  1. Smith MA, Seibel NL, Altekruse SF, et al.: Outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer: challenges for the twenty-first century. J Clin Oncol 28 (15): 2625-34, 2010.
  2. Guidelines for the pediatric cancer center and role of such centers in diagnosis and treatment. American Academy of Pediatrics Section Statement Section on Hematology/Oncology. Pediatrics 99 (1): 139-41, 1997.
  3. Miller RW, Young JL Jr, Novakovic B: Childhood cancer. Cancer 75 (1 Suppl): 395-405, 1995.
  4. Ries LA, Smith MA, Gurney JG, et al., eds.: Cancer incidence and survival among children and adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1995. Bethesda, Md: National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, 1999. NIH Pub.No. 99-4649. Also available online. Last accessed August 07, 2013.
  5. Poynter JN, Amatruda JF, Ross JA: Trends in incidence and survival of pediatric and adolescent patients with germ cell tumors in the United States, 1975 to 2006. Cancer 116 (20): 4882-91, 2010.
  6. Isaacs H Jr: Perinatal (fetal and neonatal) germ cell tumors. J Pediatr Surg 39 (7): 1003-13, 2004.
  7. Heerema-McKenney A, Harrison MR, Bratton B, et al.: Congenital teratoma: a clinicopathologic study of 22 fetal and neonatal tumors. Am J Surg Pathol 29 (1): 29-38, 2005.
  8. Dehner LP: Gonadal and extragonadal germ cell neoplasia of childhood. Hum Pathol 14 (6): 493-511, 1983.
  9. McIntyre A, Gilbert D, Goddard N, et al.: Genes, chromosomes and the development of testicular germ cell tumors of adolescents and adults. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 47 (7): 547-57, 2008.
  10. Hawkins EP: Germ cell tumors. Am J Clin Pathol 109 (4 Suppl 1): S82-8, 1998.
  11. Schneider DT, Calaminus G, Koch S, et al.: Epidemiologic analysis of 1,442 children and adolescents registered in the German germ cell tumor protocols. Pediatr Blood Cancer 42 (2): 169-75, 2004.
  12. Horton Z, Schlatter M, Schultz S: Pediatric germ cell tumors. Surg Oncol 16 (3): 205-13, 2007.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: September 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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