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Teratoma - MRI scan
Teratoma - MRI scan


Malignant teratoma
Malignant teratoma


Definition:

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.



Alternative Names:

Dermoid cyst - malignant; Nonseminomatous germ cell tumor - teratoma; Immature teratoma



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

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:

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Malignant histiocytosis
  • Myelodysplasia (MDS)
  • Small cell undifferentiated carcinoma


Symptoms:

Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Limited ability to tolerate exercise
  • Shortness of breath


Signs and tests:

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:

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:

There are many support groups available for people with cancer. Contact the American Cancer Society -- www.cancer.org



Expectations (prognosis):

The outlook depends on the tumor size and location and the age of the patient.



Complications:

The cancer can spread throughout the body and there may be complications of surgery or related to chemotherapy.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of malignant teratoma.



Prevention:




Review Date: 9/30/2008
Reviewed 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.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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