Diagnosis and management of the growing teratoma syndrome: A single-center experience and review of the literature

Urol Oncol. 2018 Dec;36(12):529.e23-529.e30. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2018.09.012. Epub 2018 Nov 13.


Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic, surgical as well as oncological outcome of patients with a growing teratoma syndrome.

Material and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis including 680 patients with advanced nonseminomatous germ cell tumors who underwent a postchemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. The peri- and postoperative outcome of 22 patients (3%) that fulfilled the criteria of a growing teratoma syndrome were analyzed: nonseminomatous germ cell tumors with increasing tumor size during or after chemotherapy despite normalized or decreasing tumor markers.

Results: The median tumor diameter at time of surgery was 6 cm (4-12.2). For a complete resection of the residual masses, adjunctive surgery had to be performed in 4 (18%) patients: resection of the abdominal aorta, inferior vena cava or renal vein with graft replacement, nephrectomy and resection of parts of the intestine. Eight postoperative complications occurred in 5 (23%) patients, with 4/8 of these complications affecting only one patient. Fifty percent of all complications were classified as Clavien-Dindo grade III or IV. After a median follow-up of 25 months, relapse occurred in 2 patients (9%); all but one patient is alive resulting in an overall survival of 95.5%.

Conclusions: The growing teratoma syndrome is a rare phenomenon among patients with advanced nonseminomatous germ cell tumors and necessitates complete surgical resection of the masses with curative intention. Due to its complexity and potential adjunctive surgery, the treatment should be performed in tertiary referral centers only.

Keywords: Growing teratoma syndrome; Post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection; Testicular cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / surgery*
  • Nephrectomy*
  • Prognosis
  • Retroperitoneal Space / pathology
  • Retroperitoneal Space / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Survival Rate
  • Syndrome
  • Teratoma / diagnosis
  • Teratoma / surgery*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Testicular Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Nonseminomatous germ cell tumor