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Cancer Health Center

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Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Seminoma

The diagnosis of seminoma requires that the serum alpha fetoprotein (AFP) be normal, and no other germ cells be present. Management decisions in patients presenting with these tumors can sometimes be difficult.

As in testicular seminoma, these tumors are very radiosensitive. About 60% to 80% of patients will remain disease free after treatment with radiation therapy.[1] Craniospinal radiation therapy for intracranial germinomas (the intracranial counterpart of seminoma) is associated with relapse-free and overall survival rates of 90% to 95% at 5 years, as evidenced in the GER-GPO-MAKEI-86/89 trial, for example.[2][Level of evidence: 3iiiA]

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Initial chemotherapy with regimens used in nonseminoma testicular cancer is also very efficacious. Practically speaking, patients with localized relatively small tumors are usually treated initially with radiation, while those with very bulky tumors or nonlocalized tumors are treated with etoposide-based and cisplatin-based chemotherapy regimens.

As in testicular seminoma, many patients will be left with a residual mass posttreatment. If the residual mass is smaller than 3.0 cm, the majority of experts agree that observation is appropriate. In those with larger residual masses, some experts favor surgical excision while others favor observation.[3,4]

Current Clinical Trials

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

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Clamon GH: Management of primary mediastinal seminoma. Chest 83 (2): 263-7, 1983.
  2. Bamberg M, Kortmann RD, Calaminus G, et al.: Radiation therapy for intracranial germinoma: results of the German cooperative prospective trials MAKEI 83/86/89. J Clin Oncol 17 (8): 2585-92, 1999.
  3. Motzer R, Bosl G, Heelan R, et al.: Residual mass: an indication for further therapy in patients with advanced seminoma following systemic chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol 5 (7): 1064-70, 1987.
  4. Schultz SM, Einhorn LH, Conces DJ Jr, et al.: Management of postchemotherapy residual mass in patients with advanced seminoma: Indiana University experience. J Clin Oncol 7 (10): 1497-503, 1989.

    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: 8/, 015
    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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