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June 1991

Central Nervous System Germinomas: A Review

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine, University Health Center of Pittsburgh.

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(6):652-657. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530180110026

• The germinoma represents a less malignant form of germ cell tumor. Depending on the individual's age, this neoplasm constitutes approximately 0.1% to 3.4% of all intracranial tumors. The embryologic origin remains a mystery; however, current theories implicate an aberration in primordial germ cell migration. Clinical presentation depends on tumor location and may involve endocrine, hypothalamic, visual, and cognitive dysfunction. In evaluating midline intracerebral masses, it is imperative that one be aware of the various radiologic appearances, endocrinologic changes, and chemical markers that help to distinguish germinomas from other neoplasms that appear in the pineal, suprasellar, and periventricular regions. Only through the careful evaluation of all available studies can the physician institute appropriate therapies such as biopsy, radiation, and chemotherapy. This article focuses on the epidemiology, embryology, clinical presentation, means of diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of this rare neoplasm.

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