Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

What are the symptoms of germ cell tumors?

The following are the most common symptoms of germ cell tumors; however, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms vary depending on the size and location of the tumor:

  • A tumor, swelling or mass that can be felt or seen.
  • Elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). 
  • Elevated levels of beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-HCG). 
  • Constipation, incontinence and leg weakness can occur if the tumor is in the sacrum (a segment of the vertebral column that forms the top part of the pelvis) compressing structures. 
  • Abnormal shape or irregularity in testicular size.

The symptoms of germ cell tumors may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child’s physician for a diagnosis.