Germ Cell Tumor Treatment

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Germ cell tumors

Germ cell tumors are a growth that arises from the reproductive cells; it may be cancerous or non-cancerous. Most of the germ cell tumors are cancerous, especially those which occurs at testis and ovary.

Some of them may occur in other parts of the body such as, abdomen, brain and chest. These types of germ cell tumors which occur in places other than reproductive cells are known as extragonadal germ cell tumors. The most common types of germ cell tumors include:

  • Semminomas and non-seminomas in testis
  • Teratomas
  • Germinomas and Choriocarcinoma in ovary
  • Endodermal sinus tumor or yolk sac tumors
  • Embryonal carcinoma


The cause of germ cell tumor is not completely understood. Experts say that germ cell tumor is caused when there is an abnormal migration of germ cells during the embryogenesis and it is also caused due to some inherited defects, which includes:

  • Failure of testes to descend into the scrotal sac (cryptorchidism)
  • Missing sex hormones
  • Incomplete or abnormal development of reproductive system
  • Central nervous system and genitourinary tract malformations
  • Major malformations of the lower spine


The symptoms may vary depending upon the size and location of the tumor. The following are the most common signs and symptoms of germ cell tumor.

  • A solid mass in the testis, with or without testicular pain
  • A solid mass in the ovary, with abdominal pain
  • Elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
  • Elevated levels of beta-human chronic gonadotrophin
  • A mass inside the chest and respiratory distress associated with it
  • Irregularity in abdominal shape or testicular size
  • Early development of pubic hair
  • Vaginal bleeding or breast enlargement at a very younger age
  • A mass in the lower back near the anus


During the diagnosis of germ cell tumor order the following tests, after a careful study of patient’s medical history and physical examination.

  • CT scan with oral and intravenous contrast for chest, abdomen and pelvis
  • Pulmonary function test, which is a baseline lung evaluation
  • Ultrasound for testes and ovary
  • Blood test for AFP, B-HCG, LDH    


Germ cell tumors are highly curable even when diagnosed at a late stage, as this type of tumor tent to respond to the treatment. The most common treatment options for patients with germ cell cancers include (alone or in combination)

  • Surgery to remove the cancerous cells
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Bone marrow transplantation with high dose chemotherapy
  • Hormonal replacement (if necessary)
  • Antibiotics to prevent or treat infection

After the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy will be done, if there is a chance of the cancer coming back.

Dr Shivakumar Uppala is an excellent oncologist in North Bangalore Hospital gained recognition in the field of cancer treatment. He is much experienced and specialized in treating cancer patients with best in class facilities.

Authored By : Dr. Shiva Kumar Uppala

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