Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Embryonal Carcinoma, Mediastinal

  • Oleksandr N. KryvenkoEmail author
  • Merce Jorda
Reference work entry


Embryonal carcinoma


Malignant germ cell tumor composed of primitive appearing markedly atypical epithelial tumor cells.

Clinical Features

  • Incidence

    Rare. Pure embryonal carcinoma constitutes approximately 7% of malignant germ cell tumors of the mediastinum and may be seen as a component in mixed malignant germ cell tumors. If teratoma is also considered, the incidence of embryonal carcinoma is around 1.9% of all germ cell tumors.

  • Age

    Mean age at presentation: 30–40 years.

  • Sex

    Almost exclusive male predominance.

  • Site

    Anterior mediastinum in association with thymus putatively from extragonadal germ cells or thymic cells with germ cell potential. Its primary nature in the mediastinum was confirmed by Cox in post-mortem examination testis in men with primary mediastinal germ cell tumors which failed to reveal testicular neoplastic pathology. However, in a patient presenting with embryonal carcinoma diagnosed as mediastinal mass, a thorough work up should be done to...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. Cox, J. D. (1975). Primary malignant germinal tumors of the mediastinum. A study of 24 cases. Cancer, 36(3), 1162–1168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Knapp, R. H., Hurt, R. D., Payne, W. S., et al. (1985). Malignant germ cell tumors of the mediastinum. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 89(1), 82–89.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Moran, C. A., & Suster, S. (1997). Primary germ cell tumors of the mediastinum: I. Analysis of 322 cases with special emphasis on teratomatous lesions and a proposal for histopathologic classification and clinical staging. Cancer, 80(4), 681–690.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Moran, C. A., Suster, S., & Koss, M. N. (1997). Primary germ cell tumors of the mediastinum: III. Yolk sac tumor, embryonal carcinoma, choriocarcinoma, and combined nonteratomatous germ cell tumors of the mediastinum – A clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of 64 cases. Cancer, 80(4), 699–707.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Weidner, N. (1999). Germ-cell tumors of the mediastinum. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, 16(1), 42–50.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Pathology and UrologyUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology and LaboratoryMedicineUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of UrologyUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA