Medulloblastoma and central nervous system germ cell tumors in adults: is pediatric experience applicable?

  • Maurizio Mascarin
  • Elisa Coassin
  • Enrico Franceschi
  • Lorenza Gandola
  • Giorgio Carrabba
  • Alba A Brandes
  • Maura MassiminoEmail author
Review Article


Medulloblastoma and central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors are very rare in adults, while they account for 25% and 5% of brain tumors in children, respectively (Pastore et al. Eur J Cancer 42:2064–208, 2006). Pediatric experiences, mostly from randomized and controlled clinical trials, have led to different tailored treatments, based on various risk factors, including histology, and extent of disease. For medulloblastoma, biological features have recently emerged that enable therapies to be scaled down in some cases, or pursued more aggressively in the event of chromosomal and/or genetic alterations (Massimino et al. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 105:35–51, 2016). Such refinements are still impossible for adult patients due to the lack of similar clinical trials that might provide the same or a different understanding regarding patients’ prognosis, long-term survival, quality of life, and acute and late toxicities. This review aims to contribute to the debate on the treatment of adults with these two diseases and promote the creation of broad-based, national and international trials to advance our knowledge in this area and to share the skills between pediatric and adult oncologists as adolescent and young adults (AYA) brain tumor national boards are currently requiring.


Medulloblastoma CNS germ cell tumors Adults Childhood cancers 



We are grateful to Associazione Bianca Garavaglia (Busto Arsizio, Milano), Associazione Bimbo Tu (Bologna), and Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori (sezione di Milano).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SOSD Oncologia Integrata del Giovane e Radioterapia Pediatrica, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico (CRO) IRCCSAvianoItaly
  2. 2.SOC Oncologia Medica, Ospedale BellariaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.SC Pediatria, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei TumoriMilanItaly
  4. 4.UOC Neurochirurgia, Fondazione IRCCS Cà Granda Ospedale Maggiore PoliclinicoMilanItaly

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