Germ Cell Tumours


Tumour Group: Other Brain Tumours and Related Conditions
WHO Grade:  
Prevalence/Incidence: Incidence rates are much higher in individuals of Asian descent as compared with North Americans and Europeans. 
Typical Age Range:  

Description of Tumour
Treatment / Standard of Care

Description of Tumour

There are several types of germ cell tumours (GCTs):

  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Embryonal carcinoma
  • Germinoma
  • Mixed germ cell tumour
  • Teratoma
  • Yolk sac tumour

Intracranial GCTs are typically found in midline sites such as the pineal region and the suprasellar regions, and commonly present in adolescents. Tumour markers (alpha 1-fetoprotein AFP and human chorionic gonadotropin [HCG]) should be obtained in the serum as well as in the craniospinal fluid, and if significantly positive for this tumour type, no histological confirmation may be required.


Information to come.

Treatment / Standard of Care

Surgery is sometimes possible or a biopsy may be performed to obtain a diagnosis. Some germ cell tumours are sensitive to radiation. A shunt may be necessary to treat hydrocephalus (dilated ventricles due to cerebrospinal fluid blockage), although hydrocephalus may be initially controlled by the use of steroids.

Some germ cell tumours may be treated with chemotherapy.


A prognosis is an estimate of the likely progress of a disease after a diagnosis, based on an average patient group. Since every person is different, please take time to talk with your health care team about how this information applies to you.

By clicking on 'Expand,' a statistic on the prognosis for germ cell tumours will be shown.

Expand for Prognosis Information

For brain tumour patients, a prognosis depends on several factors, which can include age and other health issues, the size of the tumour, its molecular profile, the type of tumour, how much can be removed, and its response to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Limited information available for this type of tumour and/or related conditions.


Image credited to Tdvorak (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Read Benoit's story of a rare germinoma...

For 30-year-old Benoit Poudrier, the past three years have been a journey to say the least. But despite six brain surgeries, meningitis, and blood clots in his legs due to hospital stays, this brain tumour survivor has kept his sense of humour. “I had six brain surgeries total by April 2015, and I certainly don’t want anymore. For me, there’s no tempting Lucky Number 7!”

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