Germ cell tumors are growths of cells that form from reproductive cells. The tumors may be cancerous or not cancerous. Most germ cell tumors occur in the testicles or the ovaries.

Some germ cell tumors occur in other areas of the body, such as the abdomen, brain and chest, though it's not clear why. Germ cell tumors that occur in places other than the testicles and ovaries (extragonadal germ cell tumors) are very rare.

Treatment options for germ cell tumors may include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy with drugs that kill cancer cells and radiation therapy with powerful energy beams.

Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition.

Germ cell tumors care at Mayo Clinic

June 06, 2023
  1. National Cancer Institute. Childhood central nervous system germ cell tumors treatment (PDQ). https://www.cancer.gov/types/brain/patient/child-cns-germ-cell-treatment-pdq. Accessed June 2, 2021.
  2. National Cancer Institute. Childhood extracranial germ cell tumors treatment (PDQ). https://www.cancer.gov/types/extracranial-germ-cell/patient/germ-cell-treatment-pdq. Accessed June 2, 2021.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Extragonadal germ cell tumors treatment (PDQ). https://www.cancer.gov/types/extragonadal-germ-cell/patient/extragonadal-treatment-pdq. Accessed June 2, 2021.
  4. Cancer.Net. Germ cell tumor — Childhood. https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/germ-cell-tumor-childhood/view-all. Accessed June 11, 2021.


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