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Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2012 Oct;29(7):633-42. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

Mediastinal germ cell tumors in childhood.

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Department of Pediatric Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.



Mediastinal germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare and usually located in anterior mediastinum. We aimed to review clinical and pathological characteristics of these tumors.


Between 1973 and 2011, 24 children with mediastinal GCTs were diagnosed. Hospital files were reviewed for presenting complaints, clinical, radiological and other laboratory data, surgical practices, treatments, and outcomes.


Median age was 4.5 years (0.2-16) (male/female: 10/14). Most common initial complaints were dyspnea, cough, anorexia/fatigue, fever, and chest pain. Primary tumors were located in anterior mediastinum (n = 22), posterior mediastinum (n = 1), and sternum (n = 1). Thirteen of 24 cases had mature teratomas (54.2%); four (16.7%) endodermal sinus tumor (EST); four (16.7%) immature teratomas; and one (4.2%) each of embryonal carcinoma, teratocarcinoma, and malignant teratoma. Mature teratomas underwent only surgical resection and were under follow-up without disease. Four cases with ESTs received chemotherapy and radiotherapy (n = 3), three underwent surgical resections: three died, one was followed for 284 months in remission. All but one immature teratomas were treated with surgery and all were under follow-up without disease. Two patients with embryonal carcinoma and malignant teratoma didn't undergo surgery; both received chemotherapy and radiotherapy but died with disease. The patient with teratocarcinoma was treated with surgery and chemotherapy but died with disease.


No adjuvant therapy is needed for mature teratomas. Immature teratomas must be under close follow-up for recurrences. Prognosis for mediastinal malignant GCTs was poor. These cases need intensive chemotherapies and effective local control measures as surgery -/+ radiotherapy to ensure long-term survival.

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