Risk Factors for Childhood Germ Cell Tumour

Executive Summary

Risk factors influence the chance of developing cancer (Germ Cell Tumour) among individuals, but individuals with no risk factors also develop cancer. The risk factors increase the risk of the child, of developing an extracranial, gonadal germ cell tumour. The common risk factors include cryptorchidism, Turner syndrome, Intersex conditions, androgen insensitivity syndrome, and Klinefelter’s syndrome. Cryptorchidism is the condition if the child has an undescended testicle with a risk of developing a testicular seminoma tumor. Turner syndrome is a genetic condition in which a female is born with a missing X chromosome. 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. Men having Klinefelter’s syndrome are born with an extra X chromosome, so they have XXY chromosomes.

Risk Factors Associated with Childhood Germ Cell Tumour

A risk factor can be anything that influences the development of any cancer. But having a risk factor, or many does not guarantee to have a particular cancer. Some people with no risk factors can also develop cancer. 

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

  • Cryptorchidism – If the child has an undescended testicle, they have a greater risk of developing a testicular seminoma tumor ​1​
  • Turner syndrome – Turner syndrome is a genetic condition, in which a female, unlike the norm is born with a missing X chromosome. Girls having 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 ​2​. 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 having this genetic condition are born with an extra X chromosome, so they have XXY chromosomes. Klinefelter’s syndrome is also connected to a greater risk of a chest germ cell tumor.

References

  1. 1.
    Litchfield K, Levy M, et al. Identification of 19 new risk loci and potential regulatory mechanisms influencing susceptibility to testicular germ cell tumor. Nat Genet. Published online June 12, 2017:1133-1140. doi:10.1038/ng.3896
  2. 2.
    McGlynn KA, Cook MB. Etiologic factors in testicular germ-cell tumors. Future Oncology. Published online November 2009:1389-1402. doi:10.2217/fon.09.116