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Germ Cell Tumors Defined

Originally published on January 22, 2013
Most recently updated on April 10, 2013

Germ cell tumors, also called germinomas, embroynal carcinomas, endodermal sinus tumors and teratoma, arise in the pineal or suprasellar region of the brain.  They are most often diagnosed around the time of puberty and are more common in boys than girls.

Symptoms:

  • In the case of suprasellar germ cell tumors, hormonal problems are commonly present
  • Pineal region tumors cause increased pressure on the brain, with headache and vision problems

Treatments:

Germinomas respond favorably to surgery followed chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of both.  They are the most radiation curable of all tumors.  The options for children with mixed malignant germ call tumors are somewhat controversial and are not as responsive to radiation as germinomas.  The currently accepted treatment approach is to use several cycles of intensive chemotherapy followed by radiation therapy.

 

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