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Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 11/25/2013

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Stages of Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors



After an extragonadal germ cell tumor has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.

The extent or spread of cancer is usually described as stages. For extragonadal germ cell tumors, prognostic groups are used instead of stages. The tumors are grouped according to how well the cancer is expected to respond to treatment. It is important to know the prognostic group in order to plan treatment.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:

  • Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
  • Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.

Cancer may spread from where it began to other parts of the body.

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began (the primary tumor) and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of tumor as the primary tumor. For example, if an extragonadal germ cell tumor spreads to the lung, the tumor cells in the lung are actually cancerous germ cells. The disease is metastatic extragonadal germ cell tumor, not lung cancer.

The following prognostic groups are used for extragonadal germ cell tumors:

Good prognosis

A nonseminoma extragonadal germ cell tumor is in the good prognosis group if:

A seminoma extragonadal germ cell tumor is in the good prognosis group if:

Intermediate prognosis

A nonseminoma extragonadal germ cell tumor is in the intermediate prognosis group if:

A seminoma extragonadal germ cell tumor is in the intermediate prognosis group if:

Poor prognosis

A nonseminoma extragonadal germ cell tumor is in the poor prognosis group if:

Seminoma extragonadal germ cell tumor does not have a poor prognosis group.