Germ Cell Brain Tumors | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are germ cell brain tumors diagnosed?

The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. Germ cell brain tumors are typically diagnosed using a combination of imaging and biopsy. As with other brain tumors, diagnostic procedures for germ cell tumors of the brain can determine the exact type of tumor and whether it has spread.

Your child’s physician may order a number of different tests including:

There may be other diagnostic tests that your doctor will discuss with you depending on your child's individual situation.

What are the treatment options for germ cell brain tumors?

Your child's physician will determine a specific course of treatment based on several factors, including your child's age, overall health and medical history, the type, location, and size of the tumor and the extent of the disease.

Treatments for germ cell brain tumors include:

What is the long-term outlook for children with germ cell brain tumors?

The prognosis for children with germ cell brain tumors depends on the type of tumor. In general, germinomas are cured in greater than 90 percent of cases with combined treatment. Non-germinomatous germ cell tumors have a 65 percent to 85 percent cure rate, depending on their spread at diagnosis. Mixed germ cell brain tumors are generally more difficult to treat.

Children treated for a germ cell tumor in the brain should visit a survivorship clinic every year to manage disease complications, screen for recurrence and manage late treatment side effects. A typical follow-up visit is likely to include a physical exam, laboratory testing and imaging scans.

At the Stop and Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic children meet with their neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, pediatric neuro-oncologist and neurologists at the same follow-up visit. Our multidisciplinary approach and depth of expertise also give your child on-site access to endocrinologists, neuro-psychologists and alternative/complementary therapy specialists. School liaison and psychosocial personnel from the pediatric brain tumor team are also available.