Germ Cell Tumors

What are germ cell tumors?

Germ cell tumors are masses of tissue formed by immature cells that normally would have developed into mature eggs (in a female) or sperm (in a male). About 90% of germ cell tumors are gonadal, which means they begin in the reproductive cells of the testes (testicular tumors) or ovaries (ovarian tumors). Germ cell tumors also can appear in other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, chest, neck, head and brain. These are called extragonadal germ cell tumors.

Germ cell tumors are rare in children under age 15. However, they are the most common solid tumors in adolescents, accounting for 14% of all cancers among those 15-19 years old.

Note: Germ cell tumors of the brain are treated differently than germ cell tumors in other parts of the body. Learn more about germ cell tumors of the brain.

Our approach to germ cell tumors at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

Children with germ cell tumors are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's through our Solid Tumor Center. Our specialists have extensive expertise in treating even the rarest of pediatric tumors, including germ cell tumors.

Find in-depth information on germ cell tumors on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's website, including:

  • How are germ cell tumors classified?
  • What are the causes of germ cell tumors?
  • How are germ cell tumors diagnosed?
  • How are germ cell tumors treated?
  • What is the latest research on germ cell tumors?