Table 2.

Biomarkers of Germ Cell Tumors

Beta Human ChorionicPlacental Alkaline
Tumor SubtypeAlpha-FetoproteinGonadotropinPhosphatase
Germinoma+/– b+
Teratoma+/– a
Embryonal carcinoma++/– b
Endodermal sinus tumor (yolk sac carcinoma)+
  • aMature teratomas tend to be negative for serum and cerebrospinal fluid alpha-fetoprotein.

  • bBeta human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) levels in germinomas and embryonal carcinomas are inconsistent but are usually more detectable in cerebrospinal fluid. High βhCG levels in germinomas have been associated with worse prognosis.