What are the treatment options for extragonadal germ cell tumors?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Treatment for extragonadal germ cell tumors depends on the character and progression of the tumor.

If the tumor is a teratoma (not yet cancerous), surgery to remove the tumor is the usual first-line treatment.

If the tumor is malignant (cancerous), treatment depends on whether the tumor is a seminoma or nonseminoma, as well as how far advanced the tumor is. For small seminomas isolated in one part of the body, your doctor may perform radiation therapy, in which radiation is directed at the tumor to kill its cells and shrink it, followed by regular diagnostic tests to make sure that the cancer has not returned. Large or spreading tumors will usually be treated first with chemotherapy (drugs that kill cancer); if chemotherapy was unable to remove all cancer cells, your doctor may surgically remove any tumor left.

If you have one or more nonseminoma tumors, your doctor will likely first prescribe chemotherapy and then remove leftover tumor surgically.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.