The development of non‐germ cell malignancies within germ cell tumors. A clinicopathologic study of 11 cases

Thomas M. Ulbright, Patrick J. Loehrer, Lawrence M. Roth, Lawrence H. Einhorn, Stephen D. Williams, Steven A. Clark

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262 Scopus citations


Eleven male patients had germ cell tumors of the testis (7), mediastinum (3), or retroperitoneum (1) in which non-germ cell malignancies developed. Such malignant non-germ cell elements were present in the primary excisions of five patients and were subsequently found in additional resected tissue in 10 of 11 patients. In the patients who had multiple pathology specimens examined, a progression from atypia to predominant non-germ cell malignancy was often found. The authors believe these malignant elements arose within teratomatous foci, since eight of nine cases had teratoma in the primary tumor, and teratoma was found in subsequently resected tissue in one additional case. Cisplatin therapy frequently 'unmasked' the non-germ cell malignant elements by destroying the more chemosensitive germ cell cancers. The prognosis was worst for five patients who developed progressive embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma: two of these patients died of local spread of tumor, whereas a third died of metastatic sarcoma. Only one patient, who had total surgical excision of rhabdomyosarcoma, survived. Other forms of sarcoma that developed within germ cell tumors did not appear to adversely affect the prognosis beyond that of teratoma. It is currently recommended, when feasible, that patients with teratoma and sarcoma undergo total surgical excision. Further treatment with cisplatin regimens, after eradication of the germ cell component, has not been helpful. The role of other forms of chemotherapy remains speculative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1824-1833
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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