Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors
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Germ cell tumors (GCT) are rare neoplasms seen in children and adults with a range of primary sites, histology and clinical behavior. They are classified together due to their common origin of primitive germ cells . GCTs arise in a variety of locations - most commonly the ovary, testis, mediastinum, retroperitoneum, cervical and sacrococcygeal regions.
This topic focuses on germ cell tumors of the mediastinum, retroperitoneal and cervical regions as these are the most common nongonadal sites. However, one should be aware that germ cell tumors also rarely arise in other locations such as intracranial, within solid organs (e.g. kidney, liver) and even in soft tissue spaces .
The presentation of GCTs occurs in a bimodal distribution with peaks in infancy and adolescence. Those arising in the teenage years are most commonly gonadal and mediastinal. The general treatment of GCTs includes complete surgical resection and a discerning use of adjunctive chemotherapy.