Impact of Surgical Timing (Primary, Delayed, or Second Look) on Surgical Morbidity and Outcomes in Malignant Germ Cell Tumor of the Ovary in Children

J Pediatr Surg. 2024 Feb 29:S0022-3468(24)00099-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2024.02.017. Online ahead of print.


Background: Malignant ovarian germ cell tumors (MOGCT) are rare in children. Surgery with or without chemotherapy is the primary treatment approach. This study aimed to analyze the impact of primary and delayed surgery on surgical morbidity and outcomes. Second-look surgery after inadequate surgical staging and the various components of surgical staging were also evaluated.

Methods: Children below 15 years with MOGCT treated between 2006 and 2022 were analyzed. A comparison of patients undergoing primary, delayed, and second-look surgery was performed.

Results: 118 patients with a median age of 12 (0.11-15) years were eligible. Forty patients underwent primary, 51 delayed, and 27 second-look surgeries. Overall complications, including tumor rupture, blood loss, and adjacent organ removal, were significantly higher in the primary compared to the delayed surgery group (p = 0.0001). Second-look surgery conceded more blood loss (p = 0.0001), extended duration (p = 0.03), and complications (p = 0.004) than delayed surgery. The compliance with surgical guidelines was 100% for most components, with a positive yield rate of 10-80%. At a median follow-up of 5.2 years, the 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort are 86% and 89%, respectively. The OS and EFS did not differ by the timing of surgery, although the second-look surgery demonstrated relatively inferior outcomes consequential to initial suboptimal surgery.

Conclusions: MOGCT shows favorable outcomes. Delayed surgery after chemotherapy in appropriately selected patients minimizes the morbidity of surgery with similar outcomes compared to primary surgery. An optimal initial surgery is essential since second-look surgery produces significant morbidity. Prognosis Study, Level II evidence.

Keywords: Germ cell tumors; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Ovarian tumors; Pediatric; Surgical staging.