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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.

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


  1. Rescorla FJ: Pediatric germ cell tumors. Semin Surg Oncol 16 (2): 144-58, 1999.
  2. Göbel U, Calaminus G, Engert J, et al.: Teratomas in infancy and childhood. Med Pediatr Oncol 31 (1): 8-15, 1998.
  3. Pinkerton CR: Malignant germ cell tumours in childhood. Eur J Cancer 33 (6): 895-901; discussion 901-2, 1997.
  4. 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.
  5. Altman RP, Randolph JG, Lilly JR: Sacrococcygeal teratoma: American Academy of Pediatrics Surgical Section Survey-1973. J Pediatr Surg 9 (3): 389-98, 1974.
  6. Ablin AR, Krailo MD, Ramsay NK, et al.: Results of treatment of malignant germ cell tumors in 93 children: a report from the Childrens Cancer Study Group. J Clin Oncol 9 (10): 1782-92, 1991.
  7. Marina N, Fontanesi J, Kun L, et al.: Treatment of childhood germ cell tumors. Review of the St. Jude experience from 1979 to 1988. Cancer 70 (10): 2568-75, 1992.
  8. 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.
  9. Huddart SN, Mann JR, Robinson K, et al.: Sacrococcygeal teratomas: the UK Children's Cancer Study Group's experience. I. Neonatal. Pediatr Surg Int 19 (1-2): 47-51, 2003.
  10. Gonzalez-Crussi F, Winkler RF, Mirkin DL: Sacrococcygeal teratomas in infants and children: relationship of histology and prognosis in 40 cases. Arch Pathol Lab Med 102 (8): 420-5, 1978.
  11. Gabra HO, Jesudason EC, McDowell HP, et al.: Sacrococcygeal teratoma--a 25-year experience in a UK regional center. J Pediatr Surg 41 (9): 1513-6, 2006.
  12. De Corti F, Sarnacki S, Patte C, et al.: Prognosis of malignant sacrococcygeal germ cell tumours according to their natural history and surgical management. Surg Oncol 21 (2): e31-7, 2012.
  13. De Backer A, Madern GC, Hakvoort-Cammel FG, et al.: Study of the factors associated with recurrence in children with sacrococcygeal teratoma. J Pediatr Surg 41 (1): 173-81; discussion 173-81, 2006.
  14. Derikx JP, De Backer A, van de Schoot L, et al.: Long-term functional sequelae of sacrococcygeal teratoma: a national study in The Netherlands. J Pediatr Surg 42 (6): 1122-6, 2007.
  15. Metcalfe PD, Farivar-Mohseni H, Farhat W, et al.: Pediatric testicular tumors: contemporary incidence and efficacy of testicular preserving surgery. J Urol 170 (6 Pt 1): 2412-5; discussion 2415-6, 2003.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Valdiserri RO, Yunis EJ: Sacrococcygeal teratomas: a review of 68 cases. Cancer 48 (1): 217-21, 1981.
  19. Carter D, Bibro MC, Touloukian RJ: Benign clinical behavior of immature mediastinal teratoma in infancy and childhood: report of two cases and review of the literature. Cancer 49 (2): 398-402, 1982.
  20. Mann JR, Gray ES, Thornton C, et al.: Mature and immature extracranial teratomas in children: the UK Children's Cancer Study Group Experience. J Clin Oncol 26 (21): 3590-7, 2008.
  21. Norris HJ, Zirkin HJ, Benson WL: Immature (malignant) teratoma of the ovary: a clinical and pathologic study of 58 cases. Cancer 37 (5): 2359-72, 1976.
  22. Marina NM, Cushing B, Giller R, et al.: Complete surgical excision is effective treatment for children with immature teratomas with or without malignant elements: A Pediatric Oncology Group/Children's Cancer Group Intergroup Study. J Clin Oncol 17 (7): 2137-43, 1999.

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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