CNS germinoma with elevated serum human chorionic gonadotropin level: clinical characteristics and treatment outcome

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Jul 1;62(3):803-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2004.10.026.


Purpose: The prognostic significance of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) level in central nervous system germinoma remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to compare clinical characteristics and prognosis of germinoma patients with normal and high HCG titers in the serum.

Methods and materials: We undertook a multi-institutional retrospective analysis of 103 patients with central nervous system germinoma whose serum HCG and/or beta-HCG level had been measured before treatment between 1984 and 2002. All patients had been treated with radiation therapy either alone (n = 66) or in combination with chemotherapy (n = 37) with a median dose of 47.8 Gy.

Results: HCG and/or beta-HCG level in the serum was high in 39% of all patients. The proportion of HCG-producing tumors was higher in the lesions at the basal ganglia than in the lesions at the other sites. No correlation was found between tumor size and HCG level, but there seemed to be a weak correlation between size and beta-HCG. The 5- and 10-year survival rates were 96% and 94%, respectively, in both patient groups with normal and high HCG (p = 0.99). The 5- and 10-year relapse-free survival rates were 87% and 82%, respectively, in patients with normal HCG level and were both 87% in patients with high HCG (p = 0.74). Also, no other patient-, tumor-, or treatment-related factors seemed to influence the prognosis of the patients.

Conclusion: Serum HCG level does not seem to influence patient prognosis when treated with sufficient doses of radiation. Relationship between tumor size and site and HCG level should be investigated further.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / blood*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / mortality
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / blood*
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human / blood
  • Female
  • Germinoma / blood*
  • Germinoma / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Proteins / blood*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human
  • Neoplasm Proteins