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Testicular Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification of Testicular Cancer

The following histologic classification of malignant testicular germ cell tumors (testicular cancer) reflects the classification used by the World Health Organization (WHO).[1] Less than 50% of malignant testicular germ cell tumors have a single cell type, of which roughly 50% are seminomas. The rest have more than one cell type, and the relative proportions of each cell type should be specified. The cell type of these tumors is important for estimating the risk of metastases and the response to chemotherapy. Polyembryoma presents an unusual growth pattern and is sometimes listed as a single histologic type, though it might better be regarded as a mixed tumor.[1,2,3]

  1. Intratubular germ cell neoplasia, unclassified.
  2. Malignant pure germ cell tumor (showing a single-cell type):
    1. Seminoma.
    2. Embryonal carcinoma.
    3. Teratoma.
    4. Choriocarcinoma.
    5. Yolk sac tumor.
  3. Malignant mixed germ cell tumor (showing more than one histologic pattern):
    1. Embryonal carcinoma and teratoma with or without seminoma.
    2. Embryonal carcinoma and yolk sac tumor with or without seminoma.
    3. Embryonal carcinoma and seminoma.
    4. Yolk sac tumor and teratoma with or without seminoma.
    5. Choriocarcinoma and any other element.
  4. Polyembryoma.


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  1. Woodward PJ, Heidenreich A, Looijenga LHJ, et al.: Germ cell tumours. In: Eble JN, Sauter G, Epstein JI, et al.: Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of the Urinary System and Male Genital Organs. Lyon, France: IARC Press, 2004, pp 221-49.
  2. Ulbright TM, Berney DM: Testicular and paratesticular tumors. In: Mills SE, Carter D, Greenson JK, et al., eds.: Sternberg's Diagnostic Surgical Pathology. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010, pp 1944-2004.
  3. Bosi GJ, Feldman DR, Bajorin DE, et al.: Cancer of the testis. In: DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011, pp 1280-1301.

    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: May 28, 2015
    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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