Background: Pediatric germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare and heterogeneous tumors with uncertain etiology. In the current study, data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program were used to evaluate trends in incidence and survival of GCTs in boys and girls ages ≤19 years. To the authors' knowledge, few studies to date have evaluated trends in pediatric GCTs. Results from these analyses may provide clues to the etiology of GCTs.
Methods: Frequencies, incidence rates, and 5-year relative survival rates stratified by sex were evaluated overall and by demographic subgroups based on age (birth to 9 years and 10-19 years), race (white, black, and other), and ethnicity (non-Hispanic and Hispanic) as sample size permitted.
Results: In whites, the incidence of GCTs was lower for females than males in the 10-year to 19-year age group (rate ratio [RR], 0.47; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.42-0.53), whereas the rates were similar in the age group for birth to 9 years. In contrast, incidence rates were higher in black females than in black males in both age groups (RR, 2.01 [95%CI, 1.08-3.84] in those ages birth to 9 years; RR, 3.30 [95% CI, 2.13-5.28] in those ages 10-19 years). The incidence of ovarian GCT was significantly higher in Hispanic compared with non-Hispanic girls in the groups aged 10 to 19 years. Incidence rates increased during the study period in boys ages 10 to 19 years (annual percentage change [APC], 1.2; 95% CI, 0.4-2.1) and girls ages birth to 9 years (APC, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.3-2.5).
Conclusions: The incidence of pediatric GCTs in the United States appears to be increasing only in certain subgroups, suggesting that the etiology is not completely overlapping in all age groups. Differences in incidence patterns by race and ethnicity merit further investigation.
© 2010 American Cancer Society.