Extragonadal Germ Cell Tumors of the Mediastinum and Retroperitoneum: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-based Study

Am J Clin Oncol. 2022 Dec 1;45(12):493-500. doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000959. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


Objectives: Extragonadal germ cell tumors (EGCT) are a rare entity, most of them being located in the mediastinum and retroperitoneum. Information on these tumors is scarce, requiring carrying out large population-based studies to better understand these diseases. We aimed to determine the clinical features and prognosis of patients with EGCT of the mediastinum and retroperitoneum.

Materials and methods: Demographic and clinicopathological features of patients diagnosed with EGCT of the mediastinum and retroperitoneum from 1975 to 2016 were retrieved from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.

Results: A total of 1674 patients were included, 1297 (77.5%) of mediastinal origin and 377 (22.5%) of retroperitoneum. Nonseminomatous tumors (56.3%) were slightly more frequent than seminomas (43.7%) with similar distribution between mediastinum and retroperitoneum. After a median follow-up of 137 months, the median overall survival was 263 months (95% CI, 220-296) whereas the median cause-specific survival (CSS) has still not been reached. The 10-year overall survival and CSS were 57.4% (95% CI, 55-59.7) and 63% (95% CI, 60.6-65.2) respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that older age, mediastinal location, nonseminomatous histology, and distant disease at diagnosis were independent prognostic factors correlated with a worse prognosis. Patients with mediastinal choriocarcinoma and embryonal carcinoma have the worst prognosis, both with a median CSS of only 12 months.

Conclusions: Despite a decreasing incidence observed in recent decades, EGCT continues to represent a challenge for oncologists. The prognosis of choriocarcinoma and embryonal carcinoma of the mediastinum remains poor and treatment strategies need to be improved urgently.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Embryonal*
  • Choriocarcinoma*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Mediastinal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Mediastinum / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal* / therapy
  • Testicular Neoplasms*