Germ cell tumors are neoplasms that develop from primordial germ cells of the human embryo, which are normally destined to produce sperm or ova. Primordial germ cells appear to originate in the yolk sac endoderm and migrate around the hindgut to the genital ridge on the posterior abdominal wall where they become part of the developing gonad. Figure 24-1 depicts the histogenesis of tumors of germ cell origin. Viable germ cells arrested along this path of migration may form neoplasia in midline sites, such as the pineal region (6%), mediastinum (7%), retroperitoneum (4%), and sacrococcygeal region (42%) or in the ovary (24%), testis (9%), and other sites (8%).
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