Current controversies in the management of germ cell ovarian tumours

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Purpose of review

Fewer than 70 new cases of malignant ovarian germ cell tumours (MOGCTs) are seen each year in the UK. Because of their rarity, no randomized trials have been reported and many of the advances in management have arisen from adopting practices developed for managing male germ cell tumours (GCTs). Not surprisingly, there have been few important publications related to ovarian germ cell tumuors over the past 2 years. We have therefore included some relevant male germ cell publications. The area in which there is greatest variability in practice globally is in the proportion of patients with stage 1a disease who go on surveillance rather than receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. Although there is increasing agreement about the best management of ovarian GCTs amongst those who treat more than five per year, many patients are still treated by doctors who usually manage epithelial ovarian cancer but rarely see these patients.

Recent findings

Novel biomarkers including microRNA profiles and DICER1 mutations, identify potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets in this group of tumours. The role of KIT mutation and amplification in the development of ovarian dysgerminoma and the use of Sunitinib, a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor with an effect on vascular endothelial growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor and KIT receptors in patients with platinum-resistant GCT, are novel promising approaches.


We will therefore highlight some key differences in management of epithelial and germ cell ovarian tumours.

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