Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Childhood Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors
Childhood extracranial germ cell tumors form from developing sperm or egg cells that travel to parts of the body other than the brain.
As a fetus develops, certain cells form sperm in the testicles or eggs in the ovaries. Sometimes these cells travel to other parts of the body and grow into germ cell tumors. This summary is about germ cell tumors that form in parts of the body that are extracranial (outside the brain). Extracranial germ cell tumors are most common in teenagers 15 to 19 years old.
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Childhood extracranial germ cell tumors are grouped as gonadal or extragonadal.
Malignant extracranial germ cell tumors are grouped into gonadal and extragonadal.
Gonadal Germ Cell Tumors
Gonadal germ cell tumors form in the testicles or ovaries.
Testicular Germ Cell Tumors
Testicular germ cell tumors usually occur before the age of 4 years or in teenagers and young adults.
Testicular germ cell tumors in teenagers and young adults are different from those that form in early childhood. They are more like testicular cancer in adults. Testicular germ cell tumors are divided into two main types, seminoma and nonseminoma. (See the PDQ summary on Testicular Cancer Treatment for more information.)
Seminoma: These tumors make a hormone called beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG).
Nonseminoma: These tumors are usually large and cause symptoms. They tend to grow and spread more quickly than seminomas.
Boys older than 14 years with testicular germ cell tumors are treated in pediatric cancer centers, but the treatment is similar to that used in adults. (See the PDQ summary on Testicular Cancer Treatment for more information.)
Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors
Ovarian germ cell tumors form in egg-making cells in an ovary. These tumors are more common in teenage girls and young women. Most ovarian germ cell tumors are benign teratomas. (See the PDQ summary on Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment for more information.)