Germ Cell Tumors Overview
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance brings together the leading research teams and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch, Seattle Children's, and UW Medicine. One extraordinary group whose sole mission is the pursuit of better, longer, richer lives for our patients. Learn More


Germ cell tumors form if reproductive cells called germ cells start to grow out of control. Germ cells are the cells that make sperm and eggs. These cells start forming while the fetus is still growing in the mother’s womb. They migrate toward the site where the child’s sex glands—the testicles or ovaries—will form.

In most cases, childhood germ cell tumors form in the sex glands. But some germ cells do not make it this far when they migrate. Instead they stop somewhere else in the body, so germ cell tumors can be found in other places.

Children and teens with germ cell tumors are treated at Seattle Children’s, a founding organization of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Seattle Children’s has a long history of successfully caring for children and teens with germ cell tumors.

Expert Care for Your Child

Cancer in children and teens is not very common. Only about 1 percent of cancers diagnosed in the United States are in children or teens, so community doctors often have limited knowledge of pediatric cancer treatment. This is why almost all children with cancer in this country receive treatment through one of the centers—like Seattle Children’s—that make up the Children’s Oncology Group.

Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center brings together experts from more than 20 subspecialties to provide diagnostic services and treatments, including the very latest options. The team of pediatric oncologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, Child Life specialists, social workers, and chaplains partner with you to provide expert, family-centered care and compassionate support. We help you understand your child’s health and treatment options because you, your child, and your family are an important part of the care team.

Because Seattle Children’s doctors take part in national and international research studies, and often lead them, we can offer new treatment options that many other hospitals cannot give their patients. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Seattle Children’s cancer program #7 in the nation.

Learn More

Read more on the Seattle Children’s website about:

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment, call Seattle Children’s at (206) 987-2106.