Germ Cell Tumor - Childhood: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2018

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of tumor. Use the menu to see other pages.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a tumor. Although risk factors often influence the development of a tumor, most do not directly cause a tumor. Some children with several risk factors never develop a tumor, while others with no known risk factors do.

The following factors may raise a child’s risk of developing an extracranial, gonadal germ cell tumor: 

  • Cryptorchidism. If a boy has an undescended testicle, he has a higher risk of developing a testicular seminoma tumor. To learn more, see the full guide to testicular cancer on another part of Cancer.Net.

  • Turner syndrome. Turner syndrome is a genetic condition in which a girl is born with a missing X chromosome. Girls with this condition have a higher risk of developing a gonadoblastoma, a benign tumor that can eventually turn into cancer.

  • Intersex conditions such as Androgen insensitivity syndrome. Androgen insensitivity syndrome is when the body of a person who is genetically male, with 1 X and 1 Y chromosome, is resistant to male hormones called androgens. A person with this syndrome has a higher risk of developing a gonadoblastoma or other germ cell tumors.

The following factor may raise a person’s risk of developing an extracranial, extragonadal germ cell tumor: 

  • Klinefelter’s syndrome. Men with this genetic condition are born with an extra X chromosome. Klinefelter’s syndrome is connected to a higher risk of a germ cell tumor in the chest. 

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what body changes or medical problems this disease can cause. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.