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Category: Oncology | Reproductive Medicine

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Teratoma overview

Published: July 07, 2009. Updated: July 07, 2009

A teratoma is a type of tumor that derives from pluripotent germ cells. Teratomas usually start from cells in the testes in men, the ovaries in women and in the sacrum in children. Teratomas involve cells from all three embryonic cell layers: ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. They can be benign or malignant.

Teratomas often contain well-differentiated cells which can result in tissues growing in a teratoma which are quite different to the surrounding tissue - ovarian teratomas have been known to grow hair and teeth. Such a benign cystic teratoma is often termed a dermoid cyst. Testicular teratomas are generally less well-differentiated, and have a worse prognosis (chances of recovery are not as high).

See also

  • Testicular cancer
  • Ovarian cancer


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