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Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment of Mature and Immature Teratomas in Children


Nonsacrococcygeal Teratomas in Children

Standard treatment options

Mature teratoma and epidermoid cyst in the prepubertal testis are relatively common benign lesions and may be amenable to testis-sparing surgery.[15] Children with mature teratomas, including mature teratomas of the mediastinum, can be treated with surgery and observation with an excellent prognosis.[1,16] In a review of 153 children with nontesticular mature teratoma, the 6-year relapse-free survival for completely resected disease was 96% versus 55% for incomplete resection.[2] Head and neck GCTs in neonates should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team. While most are benign, they do present significant challenges to surgeons. Some tumors develop malignant elements, which may change the treatment strategy.[17]

In infants and young children, immature teratomas have benign clinical behavior if they can be resected.[10,18,19] In a single institution retrospective study, immature teratomas had a mortality rate (16.2%) twice that of yolk sac tumors (7.4%) and reflects the few patients with immature teratomas (unfavorable sites) that could not be resected. Immature teratomas generally do not respond to chemotherapy.[20] In adults, immature teratomas (primarily ovarian) reportedly have an aggressive clinical behavior [21] requiring surgery and chemotherapy. The benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy for children was questioned in a study by the Pediatric Oncology Group and Children's Cancer Group that evaluated the use of surgical resection followed by careful observation for patients with immature teratomas. Surgery alone was curative for most children and adolescents with resected ovarian immature teratoma of any grade, even when elevated levels of serum AFP or microscopic foci of yolk sac tumor were present. The study demonstrated a 3-year event-free survival of 97.8%, 100%, and 80% for patients with ovarian, testicular, and extragonadal tumors, respectively.[22] It is important to emphasize that the number of pediatric patients with residual teratomas and immature teratomas is very small. There may be a role for surgical removal of residual benign lesions.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood teratoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

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