Testicular Tumors

What are testicular tumors?

A testicular tumor is a growth on the testicles. These are germ cell tumors that can present as either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Germ cell tumors are masses of tissue formed by immature cells that normally would have developed into mature eggs (in a female) or sperm (in a male). Ninety percent of germ cell tumors are gonadal, which means they begin in the reproductive cells of the testes or ovaries.

Many testicular tumors are benign. While they may grow in their original location, they do not often spread to other parts of the body. However, some testicular tumors can grow aggressively and metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body, most commonly to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, and central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.

How we care for testicular tumors

Children, teens, and young adults with testicular tumors are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Solid Tumor Center. Our treatment team includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, and pediatric subspecialists, including urologists, who have specialized expertise in treating all types of germ cell tumors, including testicular tumors.

Because of their unique expertise in treating these types of tumors, our urologists can help identify and, when possible, avoid potential side effects such as infertility, sexual dysfunction, or incontinence — that may result from cancer treatment. We also offer procedures that can help preserve fertility, including harvesting stem cells.

What is the latest research for testicular tumors?

Various germ cell tumor research studies are underway to help build our understanding of how treatment types and dosages can be modified according to the tumor sub-type, stage, location on the body, and the age and gender of the child — to provide the best possible outcome.

Due to the rarity of germ cell tumors in children, however, statistically meaningful data with multivariate analysis is difficult to achieve. To address that, the Malignant Germ Cell International Collaborative (MaGIC) was formed. This consortium, led by A. Lindsay Frazier, MD, a pediatric oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, is a collaboration of the world’s experts in germ cell tumors, including pediatric, gynecologic, and genito-urinary oncologists.

Clinical trials for testicular tumors

For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, including testicular germ cell tumors, clinical trials — research studies evaluating new treatment approaches – provide new options.

Participation in any clinical trial is completely voluntary. We will fully explain all elements of the treatment plan prior to the start of the trial, and you may remove your child from the medical study at any time.