Germ Cell Tumours in Children: A Twenty-year Retrospective Study (January 1988 - December 2007) in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria

EE Akang, FO Edegbe, CO Okani, GO Ogun


Background: There is a significant lack of studies of
germ cell neoplasms in the paediatric age group from
Nigeria and other parts of Africa.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the
histological pattern of paediatric germ cell tumours in
Ibadan, Nigeria.

Method: This is a retrospective study of cases of germ cell
neoplasms histologically diagnosed at the Department of
Pathology, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan
between January 1988 and December 2007 among
children aged 0-14 years. Haematoxylin and eosin stained
slides were reviewed and where necessary, the paraffin
blocks were recut and stained. The World Health
Organization Histological Classification of paediatric
germ cell tumours of 2004 was used in this study.

Result: Paediatric germ cell tumours comprised 0.05% of
all surgical pathology specimens in the study period. There
were 10 (25.6%) male and 29 (73.4%) female patients,
giving a male to female gender ratio of 1:2.9.
Extragonadal germ cell tumours constituted 25 (64.1%)
and gonadal germ cell tumours 14 (35.9%) cases. Benign
neoplasms accounted for 26 (66.7%) and malignant
neoplasms accounted for 13 (33.3%) cases. Thirty-one
(79.5%) of the 39 cases were teratomas, 7 (17.9%) were
yolk sac tumours and one (2.6%) was a mixed germ cell
tumour. The most common sites were the ovary (33.3%),
sacrococcygeal region (20.5%) and neck (10.3%). There
was a bimodal age distribution, with a first peak in infancy
and a second peak between >5-10 years of age.

Conclusion: In view of the paucity of studies on germ
cell tumours from Nigeria and other parts of Africa,
further studies of this unique group of neoplasms are
required in order to validate the findings of this study.

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