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Alternative Names Return to topDermoid cyst - malignant; Nonseminomatous germ cell tumor - teratoma; Immature teratoma
Definition Return to top
Malignant teratoma is a type of cancer made of cysts that contain one or more of the three main types of cells found in a developing baby (embryo). These cells are callled ectoderms, mesoderms, and endoderms.
Causes Return to top
Malignant teratoma occurs most often in young men in their 20's - 30's. It is often located in the chest area. Most malignant teratomas can spread throughout the body, and have spread by the time of diagnosis.
A number of other cancers are often associated with these tumors, including:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider will perform a physical exam, which may reveal signs of congestive heart failure and increased pressure in the chest area.
The following tests help diagnose the tumor:
Treatment Return to top
Chemotherapy is used to treat the tumor. A combination of medicines (usually cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin) is commonly used.
After chemotherapy is complete, CT scans are taken again to see if any mass remains. Surgery may be recommended if there is a possibility that the cancer will grow back in that area.
Support Groups Return to top
There are many support groups available for people with cancer. Contact the American Cancer Society -- www.cancer.org
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outlook depends on the tumor size and location and the age of the patient.
Possible Complications Return to top
The cancer can spread throughout the body and there may be complications of surgery or related to chemotherapy.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of malignant teratoma.Update Date: 9/30/2008 Updated by: James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.