Teratomas in central nervous system: a clinico-morphological study with review of literature

Neurol India. 2010 Nov-Dec;58(6):841-6. doi: 10.4103/0028-3886.73740.


Background: Cranio-spinal axis teratomas are rare. This subset is interesting because symptoms can be varied, depending on the location. Histopathology is diagnostic; most of the lesions are benign. Rarely, malignancy develops in any of the somatic components.

Aims: To study the demographic, clinico-morphological and follow-up data of central nervous system (CNS) teratomas.

Materials and methods: Cases diagnosed as mature or immature teratomas in the CNS over a 20-year period were included in the study. Clinico-radiological, demographic and follow-up data of these cases were analyzed.

Results: A total of 14 tumors were diagnosed as teratomas. Of these, 11 were mature cystic teratomas; and 1 case each, of teratoma with malignant transformation, terato-carcinoma and mixed germ cell tumor (immature teratoma with germinoma). Six of the 14 cases were intracranial and 8 were spinal. Presenting features varied according to the location. Radiologically, contrast enhancement with predominantly solid component was suggestive of malignancy or an aggressive tumor. Morphologically, a variety of tissue derivatives were seen in the cases. Excision was curative or provided symptomatic relief in most cases; terato-carcinoma and mixed germ cell tumor patients needed adjuvant radiotherapy.

Conclusion: CNS teratomas are rare. Morphology and location decide outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / classification
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgery
  • Teratoma / classification
  • Teratoma / diagnosis*
  • Teratoma / surgery*
  • Young Adult