Clinical Challenges in the Management of Malignant Ovarian Germ Cell Tumours

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Jun 9;20(12):6089. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20126089.


Nonepithelial ovarian cancers (NEOC) are a group of rare malignancies, including germ cell tumours (GCT) and sex cord-stromal tumours (SCST), along with small-cell carcinomas and sarcomas. GCTs represent 2-5% of ovarian cancers, with a yearly incidence of 4:100,000, and they usually affect young women and adolescents. Precursory germ cells of the ovary form the basis of GCT. They are histologically classified into primitive GCT, teratomas, and monodermal and somatic-type tumours associated with dermoid cysts. A primitive GCT can be either a yolk sac tumour (YST), dysgerminoma, or mixed germ cell neoplasm. Teratomas are either mature (benign) or immature (malignant). Given that malignant GCTs occur rarely compared to epithelial ovarian tumours (EOC), greater focus is required in their diagnosis and treatment. In this article, we review the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and molecular biology, along with the management and therapeutic challenges.

Keywords: dysgerminomas; genome profiling; ovarian germ cell tumours; signalling pathways; treatment; yolk sac tumours.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal* / therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Teratoma* / pathology

Supplementary concepts

  • Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.