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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment of Malignant Gonadal GCTs in Children


Malignant nongerminomatous ovarian GCTs

A multidisciplinary approach is essential for treatment of ovarian GCTs. Various surgical subspecialists and the pediatric oncologist must be involved in clinical decisions. The reproductive surgical approach for pediatric GCTs is often guided by the hope that function can be preserved.

Standard treatment options for malignant nongerminomatous ovarian GCTs

Standard treatment options for malignant nongerminomatous ovarian GCTs include the following:

  1. Surgery and observation (stage I).
  2. Surgery and chemotherapy (stage I and stages II through IV).
  3. Biopsy followed by chemotherapy and surgery (initially unresectable tumors).

The treatment of ovarian malignant GCTs that are not dysgerminomas or immature teratomas generally involves surgical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy.[24,25]

The role for surgery at diagnosis is age- and site-dependent and must be individualized. The use of laparoscopy in children with ovarian GCTs has not been well studied.

Pediatric surgical guidelines to determine stage I disease have been published.[26] Adult surgical guidelines to determine stage are more extensive. (Refer to the Stage Information for Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors section of the PDQ summary on Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment for more information about staging of ovarian GCTs in postpubertal females.) Strict surgical staging guidelines need to be followed to determine true stage I disease. Historically, in both pediatric and adult studies, comprehensive staging guidelines have not been followed. If strict surgical staging guidelines are not followed, surgery followed by chemotherapy, rather than surgery followed by observation, is the standard treatment.[8,27] If conservative surgery is the choice, a high rate of cure can be obtained with adjuvant chemotherapy, and adherence to strict surgical guidelines is not necessary.[28]

Platinum-based chemotherapy regimens such as PEB or JEB have been used successfully in children.[8,9,10,15] BEP is a common regimen in young women with ovarian GCTs.[29,30] BEP differs from PEB with the addition of weekly bleomycin. This approach results in a high rate of cure and the preservation of menstrual function and fertility in most patients with nondysgerminomas.[25,27] (Refer to Table 4 for more information about the dosing schedules for BEP, PEB, and JEB.)

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