Germ cells form the eggs, or ova, within the ovaries. When these cells grow too much, they form clusters of cells, or germ cell tumors. Although most germ cell tumors are benign, some are cancerous. Fewer than 3% of all ovarian cancers are germ cell tumors. Usually, the prognosis is good, with 90% of germ cell cancer patients surviving for 5 years or more after diagnosis. Whilst there are several different types of germ cell tumor, the most common types are choriocarcinomas, teratoma, dysgerminoma, and endodermal sinus tumors. Some germ cell tumors are a combination of different subtypes.
A teratoma is a type of germ cell tumor that, under the microscope, resembles the three layers of an embryo; the endoderm (inner layer), mesoderm (middle layer) and ectoderm (the outermost layer). The benign form of teratoma is called a mature teratoma, whilst the cancerous form of the tumor is known as an immature teratoma. Most germ cell tumors are mature teratomas. These usually affect women of child-bearing age and are often referred to as dermoid cysts. Mature teratomas can often contain different types of tissue, including hair, teeth and bone. They are treated by surgery to remove the cyst. Immature teratomas are a type of ovarian cancer. Occurring in girls and young women, usually under the age of 18, they are rare cancers that resemble cells from embryos. Graded one to three, the more mature (i.e. benign) cancers can be treated by removing the ovary. Less mature teratomas, or those that have spread beyond the ovary are classified as grade 2 or 3 and are conventionally treated with surgical removal and chemotherapy.
Dysgerminoma is a rare form cancer, although it is the most common type of ovarian germ cell cancer that usually affects women in their twenties and teens. When isolated in the ovary, most dysgerminomas are treated successfully with surgery alone. When the tumor has spread outside of the ovary, conventional treatment involves surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Choriocarcinoma and Endodermal Sinus Tumor (also call yolk sac tumor)
These tumors are very rare and usually affect girls and young women. Choriocarcinoma originates in the placenta during pregnancy (placental choriocarcinoma) or the ovary (ovarian choriocarcinoma). Whilst ovarian cancer is treated with relatively good success rates using conventional cancer treatment, such as high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, Functional Oncology has far greater overall success rates for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Depending on whether IPTLD is appropriate within the cancer suppression phase of the treatment, we are able to successfully treat ovarian cancer with no, or only very small doses of, chemotherapy. The result is longer survival rates, fewer side effects and fewer long term effects of our in comparison to conventional ovarian cancer treatment programs.
If you would like to know more about Functional Oncology to treat Germ Cell Cancer, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.