Intracranial Germ Cell Tumors

  • Seung-Ki KimEmail author
  • Ji Hoon Phi
  • Sung-Hye Park
  • Kyu-Chang Wang


Intracranial germ cell tumors (IGCTs) are a very peculiar group of neoplasms arising in the brain. Several characteristics distinguish them from other brain tumors of neuroepithelial origin. First, IGCTs consist of closely related but extremely heterogeneous tumors with a distinct histology and biology, and these tumors can be considered as separate entities on several specific features. Second, IGCTs exhibit strong predilections for onset age, sex, brain location, and worldwide geographical distribution. Although other brain tumors share these epidemiological characteristics, the general properties of IGCTs are incomparable to those of the other tumors. Third, IGCT is considered to be a germ cell tumor (GCT) that arises from various locations in the body including the gonads and extragonadal sites. Because IGCTs and GCTs share similar biological and clinical features, much of our knowledge on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of IGCT comes from experience with other GCTs. Fourth, as with other GCTs, many IGCTs are accompanied by elevated levels of tumor markers in the serum and cerebrospinal fluids (CSF). This provides us with an unparalleled opportunity for diagnosis and follow-up, but the uncertainties regarding IGCTs continue to offer challenges. Finally, with some exceptions, IGCTs have relatively good prognoses even though the majority of the diseases are malignant in nature. Furthermore, the necessity of surgery can be negated in some patients because IGCTs respond well to radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy. Consequently, therapeutic protocols for IGCT differ considerably, especially when combined with the heterogeneity of IGCTs. Thus, collaborative research for clinical standards is urgently needed.


Germ cell tumor Germinoma Intracranial Diagnosis Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seung-Ki Kim
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ji Hoon Phi
    • 1
  • Sung-Hye Park
    • 3
  • Kyu-Chang Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric NeurosurgerySeoul National University Children’s HospitalSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgerySeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of PathologySeoul National University HospitalSeoulRepublic of Korea

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