Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 1921–1927 | Cite as

The incidences of malignant gonadal and extragonadal germ cell tumors in males and females: a population-based study covering over 40 years in Finland

  • Satu-Liisa Pauniaho
  • Jonna Salonen
  • Mika Helminen
  • Kim Vettenranta
  • Markku HeikinheimoEmail author
  • Oskari Heikinheimo
Original paper



Germ cell tumors (GCTs) comprise a heterogeneous group of tumors derived from primordial germ cells. The incidence of malignant testicular GCTs has increased in recent decades, but little is known about possible changes in malignant female GCTs. Population-based data covering all malignant GCTs in both sexes remain limited.


All cases of malignant GCTs in 1969–2008 were collected from the Finnish Cancer Registry and their age-adjusted annual incidences calculated.


The overall incidence of malignant GCTs was 2.56 per 100,000 person-years in males and 0.34 per 100,000 in females. The incidence of gonadal GCTs increased from 2.27 to 8.36 per 100,000 in males between 15 and 44 years of age. Moreover, the incidence of all histological subtypes of gonadal GCTs increased in males. In females, the only increase was seen in the incidence of ovarian non-dysgerminoma (from 0.07 to 0.29/100,000). The incidence of extragonadal GCTs did not change during the study period, being 0.18 and 0.10 per 100,000 in males and females, respectively.


The incidence of gonadal GCTs in males increased significantly during the 40-year study period, whereas in females, no such change was observed. There were significant gender differences regarding the distribution of histological subtypes and patients’ ages. However, the incidence of extragonadal GCTs remained low in both sexes. The differences in the incidences of gonadal GCTs derived from the same population suggest that the risk factors of these malignancies differ between the two sexes.


Extragonadal germ cell tumor Germ cell tumor Incidence Malignant Ovary Testis 



We wish to thank Dr. Risto Sankila, M.D., Ph.D., from the Finnish Cancer Registry for his highly professional collaboration regarding cancer statistics. Financial support from the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, the Nona and Kullervo Väre Foundation, Helsinki University Central Hospital Research Funds, the Pediatric Graduate School, University of Helsinki, and the National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation is gratefully acknowledged.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satu-Liisa Pauniaho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonna Salonen
    • 3
  • Mika Helminen
    • 4
  • Kim Vettenranta
    • 1
  • Markku Heikinheimo
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  • Oskari Heikinheimo
    • 3
  1. 1.Paediatric Research CentreUniversity of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Medical SchoolTampereFinland
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryCentral Hospital of SeinäjokiSeinäjokiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.School of Health SciencesUniversity of Tampere and Science Center, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  5. 5.Children’s HospitalUniversity of Helsinki, Helsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, St Louis Children’s HospitalWashington UniversitySt LouisUSA

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