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


Malignant GCTs located in the retroperitoneum or abdomen usually present in children before age 5 years; most tumors are of advanced stage and locally unresectable at diagnosis.[19] A limited biopsy followed by platinum-based chemotherapy to shrink tumor bulk can lead to complete tumor resection in most patients. Despite advanced-stage disease in most patients, the 6-year EFS using PEB was 83% in the Pediatric Oncology Group/Children's Cancer Group intergroup study.[19]

Though rare, benign and malignant GCTs can occur in the head and neck region, especially in infants. Often the airway is threatened. Surgery for nonmalignant tumors plus chemotherapy for malignant tumors can be curative.[20][Level of evidence: 3iiiDii]

Standard Treatment Options

Surgery: The role for surgery at diagnosis for extragonadal tumors is age- and site-dependent and must be individualized. Depending on the clinical setting, the appropriate surgical approach may range from no surgery (e.g., mediastinal primary tumor in a patient with a compromised airway and elevated tumor markers), to biopsy, to primary resection. In some cases, an appropriate strategy is biopsy at diagnosis followed by subsequent surgery in selected patients who have residual masses following chemotherapy.

Stages I and II

  • Surgery and treatment with four to six cycles of standard PEB. These patients have an OS outcome greater than 90% with this regimen, suggesting that a reduction in therapy could be considered.[2,21]
  • Surgery and treatment with six cycles of JEB.[5]

Stages III and IV

  • Surgery and treatment with four to six cycles of standard PEB. These patients have an OS outcome approaching 80% with this regimen.[2]
  • Surgery and treatment with six cycles of JEB yield similar OS.[5]

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

The following is an example of a national and/or institutional clinical trial that is currently being conducted. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • A completed COG trial investigated the addition of cyclophosphamide to standard-dose PEB. The results of this study are pending.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood extragonadal germ cell tumor. 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. Pantoja E, Llobet R, Gonzalez-Flores B: Retroperitoneal teratoma: historical review. J Urol 115 (5): 520-3, 1976.
  2. Cushing B, Giller R, Cullen JW, et al.: Randomized comparison of combination chemotherapy with etoposide, bleomycin, and either high-dose or standard-dose cisplatin in children and adolescents with high-risk malignant germ cell tumors: a pediatric intergroup study--Pediatric Oncology Group 9049 and Children's Cancer Group 8882. J Clin Oncol 22 (13): 2691-700, 2004.
  3. Baranzelli MC, Kramar A, Bouffet E, et al.: Prognostic factors in children with localized malignant nonseminomatous germ cell tumors. J Clin Oncol 17 (4): 1212, 1999.
  4. Marina N, London WB, Frazier AL, et al.: Prognostic factors in children with extragonadal malignant germ cell tumors: a pediatric intergroup study. J Clin Oncol 24 (16): 2544-8, 2006.
  5. Mann JR, Raafat F, Robinson K, et al.: The United Kingdom Children's Cancer Study Group's second germ cell tumor study: carboplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin are effective treatment for children with malignant extracranial germ cell tumors, with acceptable toxicity. J Clin Oncol 18 (22): 3809-18, 2000.
  6. Schneider DT, Calaminus G, Reinhard H, et al.: Primary mediastinal germ cell tumors in children and adolescents: results of the German cooperative protocols MAKEI 83/86, 89, and 96. J Clin Oncol 18 (4): 832-9, 2000.
  7. Göbel U, Schneider DT, Calaminus G, et al.: Multimodal treatment of malignant sacrococcygeal germ cell tumors: a prospective analysis of 66 patients of the German cooperative protocols MAKEI 83/86 and 89. J Clin Oncol 19 (7): 1943-50, 2001.
  8. Rescorla F, Billmire D, Stolar C, et al.: The effect of cisplatin dose and surgical resection in children with malignant germ cell tumors at the sacrococcygeal region: a pediatric intergroup trial (POG 9049/CCG 8882). J Pediatr Surg 36 (1): 12-7, 2001.
  9. Altman RP, Randolph JG, Lilly JR: Sacrococcygeal teratoma: American Academy of Pediatrics Surgical Section Survey-1973. J Pediatr Surg 9 (3): 389-98, 1974.
  10. Rescorla FJ, Sawin RS, Coran AG, et al.: Long-term outcome for infants and children with sacrococcygeal teratoma: a report from the Childrens Cancer Group. J Pediatr Surg 33 (2): 171-6, 1998.
  11. Calaminus G, Schneider DT, Bökkerink JP, et al.: Prognostic value of tumor size, metastases, extension into bone, and increased tumor marker in children with malignant sacrococcygeal germ cell tumors: a prospective evaluation of 71 patients treated in the German cooperative protocols Maligne Keimzelltumoren (MAKEI) 83/86 and MAKEI 89. J Clin Oncol 21 (5): 781-6, 2003.
  12. Nichols CR, Heerema NA, Palmer C, et al.: Klinefelter's syndrome associated with mediastinal germ cell neoplasms. J Clin Oncol 5 (8): 1290-4, 1987.
  13. Schneider DT, Schuster AE, Fritsch MK, et al.: Genetic analysis of mediastinal nonseminomatous germ cell tumors in children and adolescents. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 34 (1): 115-25, 2002.
  14. Billmire D, Vinocur C, Rescorla F, et al.: Malignant mediastinal germ cell tumors: an intergroup study. J Pediatr Surg 36 (1): 18-24, 2001.
  15. Vuky J, Bains M, Bacik J, et al.: Role of postchemotherapy adjunctive surgery in the management of patients with nonseminoma arising from the mediastinum. J Clin Oncol 19 (3): 682-8, 2001.
  16. Ganjoo KN, Rieger KM, Kesler KA, et al.: Results of modern therapy for patients with mediastinal nonseminomatous germ cell tumors. Cancer 88 (5): 1051-6, 2000.
  17. Bokemeyer C, Nichols CR, Droz JP, et al.: Extragonadal germ cell tumors of the mediastinum and retroperitoneum: results from an international analysis. J Clin Oncol 20 (7): 1864-73, 2002.
  18. Kang CH, Kim YT, Jheon SH, et al.: Surgical treatment of malignant mediastinal nonseminomatous germ cell tumor. Ann Thorac Surg 85 (2): 379-84, 2008.
  19. Billmire D, Vinocur C, Rescorla F, et al.: Malignant retroperitoneal and abdominal germ cell tumors: an intergroup study. J Pediatr Surg 38 (3): 315-8; discussion 315-8, 2003.
  20. Bernbeck B, Schneider DT, Bernbeck B, et al.: Germ cell tumors of the head and neck: report from the MAKEI Study Group. Pediatr Blood Cancer 52 (2): 223-6, 2009.
  21. Rogers PC, Olson TA, Cullen JW, et al.: Treatment of children and adolescents with stage II testicular and stages I and II ovarian malignant germ cell tumors: A Pediatric Intergroup Study--Pediatric Oncology Group 9048 and Children's Cancer Group 8891. J Clin Oncol 22 (17): 3563-9, 2004.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 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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