Evidence from our previous study suggested that the incidence of germ cell neoplasms in children and adolescents is increasing. The objectives of this analysis were to quantify this trend in patients aged 0-9 and 10-19 years (pre-pubertal and adolescent groups, respectively) and compare rates in Taiwan according to geographic distribution. Germ cell neoplasm frequencies among 1267 patients aged 0-19 years spanning 1995-2009 were obtained from the population-based Taiwan Cancer Registry. The incidence patterns according to sex, age, disease subgroup, and geographic distribution were analyzed. The incidence rates in the pre-pubertal and adolescent groups were 10.58 and 16.06 per million person-years, respectively. The overall rates increased significantly by 3.2% annually in the adolescent group during the 15-year study period, and increased only among the males. In contrast, no change in trend was observed in the pre-pubertal group. Subgroup analysis showed significant upward trends in the incidence rates of intracranial/intraspinal and testicular germ cell tumors (GCTs) in the adolescent males and extracranial/extragonadal GCTs in the pre-pubertal boys. The most striking differences between the study population and white Americans were that the rates of testicular GCTs were 5-fold higher and 4-fold lower in the Taiwanese pre-pubertal and adolescent groups, respectively. Significantly higher rates were found in Hualien and Chiayi Counties compared with the other areas of Taiwan. The upward trend of testicular GCTs in the adolescent males is consistent with findings from Western countries. The underlying causes that led to the high rate of testicular GCTs in the pre-pubertal boys and significantly higher rates in specific counties warrant further investigation.
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