What is germ cell cancer

Germ cell tumor

English: germ cell tumor (GCT)

1 definition

Under a Germ cell tumor one understands a mass that originates in individual germ cells. The tumors differ greatly in their properties, depending on whether they occur in women or men. Malignant as well as benign germ cell tumors can occur in men. In women, practically all tumors in this class are benign - with a few exceptions.

2 germ cell tumors in men

2.1 Yolk sac tumor

The yolk sac tumor usually occurs in boys up to 4 years of age and affects the testicles. It is a malignant neoplasm. Other names are:

2.2 teratoma

Teratoma is slightly more common in men, but it can also occur in women. It arises from germ cells of various types of tissue, some of which can differentiate in the tumor. Teratomas can be both benign and malignant. If they occur in childhood, it is usually the benign form.

2.3 Seminome

The seminoma develops from spermatogonia and is by far the most common testicular tumor. This germ cell tumor is malignant, but the prognosis for treatment is nevertheless relatively favorable.

2.4 chorionic carcinoma

Chorionic carcinoma is a germ cell tumor that occurs in the testicle. Foci of growth are rarely found in the urinary bladder area. It mostly affects young men between the ages of 12 and 20 and is characterized by an increased hCG level. Choriocarcinoma is extremely aggressive and metastasizes hematogenously early (lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen).

3 germ cell tumors in women

3.1 Dysgerminoma

The dysgerminoma usually occurs around the age of 20-25 and is due to degenerate, pluripotent germ cells. It is a malignant tumor that often affects young girls and pregnant women. It manifests itself in the genital area. The dysgerminoma metastasize relatively quickly via the lymph; however, the chance of recovery is good.

3.2 teratoma

As in men, teratomas can occur in women. They affect the ovaries, but are predominantly benign in women. Teratomas develop from all three cotyledons and can contain various types of tissue (e.g. nerve tissue, muscle tissue, teeth, etc.) within their capsule. Malignant teratomas develop extremely rarely, even in women. These become noticeable by an increase in the blood concentration of alpha-1 fetoprotein.

3.3 chorionic carcinoma

Choriocarcinoma can occur in women as a germ cell tumor or trophoblast tumor. It is very rare. It affects the uterus or ovaries and is characterized by early metastasis and a poor prognosis for healing.

3.4 Yolk sac tumor

The woman's yolk sac tumor histologically closely resembles the early embryonic tissue of the yolk sac. It usually occurs around the age of 18 and has an unfavorable healing prognosis. The most important prognostic factor is resectability. While the early stages are usually easily resectable in small children, the prognosis after puberty is usually poor (> 50% already metastasized).