Germ cell tumors are composed of a number of histologically different tumor types derived from the primitive germ cells of the embryonic gonad. The concept of germ cell tumors as a specific group of gonadal neoplasms has evolved in the last five decades. It is based on (1) the common histogenesis of these neoplasms, (2) the relatively frequent presence of histologically different neoplastic elements within the same tumor mass, and (3) the presence of histologically similar neoplasms in extragonadal locations along the line of migration of the primitive germ cells from the wall of the yolk sac to the gonadal ridge,384 as well as on the remarkable homology between the various tumors in the male and the female. In no other group of gonadal neoplasms is this homology better illustrated. Although the strong morphologic resemblance between the testicular seminoma and its ovarian counterpart, the dysgerminoma, was noted soon after these neoplasms were first described, for a long time there was no agreement as to their histogenesis. Nevertheless, these were the first neoplasms to become accepted as originating from germ cells. It was not until the studies by Teilum339,340 on the homology of ovarian and testicular neoplasms, the studies by Friedman and Moore95 and Dixon and Moore76 on testicular tumors, and those by Friedman94 on related extragonadal neoplasms that the germ cell origin of other neoplasms belonging to this group was suggested. These views were supported by the embryologic studies of Witschi384 and Gillman,107 and later by the experimental work of Stevens305–307 and Pierce et al.238,239,241,244 on germ cell tumors in rodents.


Germ Cell Germ Cell Tumor Embryonal Carcinoma Immature Teratoma Mature Cystic Teratoma 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

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  • Aleksander Talerman

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