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Germ Cell Tumours

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

Tumour Characteristics

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.


Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • 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.