Extragonadal germ cell tumors form from developing sperm or egg cells that travel from the gonads to other parts of the body. “Extragonadal” means outside of the gonads (sex organs). When cells that are meant to form sperm in the testicles or eggs in the ovaries travel to other parts of the body, they may grow into extragonadal germ cell tumors. These tumors may begin to grow anywhere in the body but usually begin in organs such as the pineal gland in the brain, in the mediastinum (area between the lungs), or in the retroperitoneum (the back wall of the abdomen).

Signs & Symptoms

Malignant extragonadal germ cell tumors may cause signs and symptoms as they grow into nearby areas. Other conditions may cause the same signs and symptoms. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Feeling very tired
  • Trouble walking
  • Trouble in seeing or moving the eyes


Your OHC doctor will help you determine the best care plan for you.

  • Treatment Options for benign Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors is surgery.
  • Treatment of seminoma extragonadal germ cell tumors may include the following:
    • Radiation therapy for small tumors in one area, followed by watchful waiting if there is tumor remaining after treatment.
    • Chemotherapy for larger tumors or tumors that have spread. If a tumor smaller than 3 centimeters remains after chemotherapy, watchful waiting follows. If a larger tumor remains after treatment, surgery or watchful waiting follow.
  • Treatment of nonseminoma extragonadal germ cell tumors may include the following:
    • Combination chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove any remaining tumor
    • A clinical trial of a new treatment
  • Treatment of extragonadal germ cell tumors that are recurrent (come back after being treated) or refractory (do not get better during treatment) may include the following:
    • Chemotherapy
    • A clinical trial of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant
    • A clinical trial of a new treatment