Attacking germ cell tumors from every angle

Our multidisciplinary team of doctors and researchers give patients the best possible treatment options

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ 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. If your child is diagnosed with a germ cell tumor, you’ll want a team with significant experience fighting this rare cancer, like the team at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.

Germ cell tumor types

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 Medicine Children’s Health for germ cell tumor treatment?

Our 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.

Our doctors are part of the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases, which is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and the Stanford Cancer Institute, which is one of a select group of comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute.

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