Germ Cell Tumors

U.S. News & World Report - CancerGerm cell tumors are cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign) tumors made up mostly of germ cells. Germ cells are young cells that develop into eggs and sperm as they mature. Germ cell tumors are rare, accounting for about 1 percent of all childhood cancers.

Many germ cell tumors start in an ovary or testicle. However, some develop in the brain, chest, or abdomen and some start around the tailbone. Treatment depends on the exact tumor type and whether the tumor has spread outside of the area where it started. Germ cell tumor types include:

  • Teratoma
  • Germinoma, also called dysgerminoma when located in the ovary and seminoma when located in the testicle
  • Endodermal sinus tumor, or yolk sac tumor
  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Embryonal carcinoma

Most patients with germ cell tumors are treated with surgery and possibly chemotherapy (medicine that kills cancer cells). Radiation therapy is used in rare circumstances.

Why choose Stanford Children’s Health?

Our multidisciplinary care team includes experts in oncology, surgery, gynecology, urology, pathology, and radiology, all of whom are exclusively focused on caring for children, adolescents, and young adults. Our physician-researchers have decades of experience treating patients with germ cell tumors and are working to develop new treatments.