Medulloblastoma and central nervous system germ cell tumors in adults: is pediatric experience applicable?

Childs Nerv Syst. 2019 Dec;35(12):2279-2287. doi: 10.1007/s00381-019-04340-8. Epub 2019 Aug 14.


Medulloblastoma and central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors are very rare in adults, while they account for 25% and 5% of brain tumors in children, respectively (Pastore et al. Eur J Cancer 42:2064-208, 2006). Pediatric experiences, mostly from randomized and controlled clinical trials, have led to different tailored treatments, based on various risk factors, including histology, and extent of disease. For medulloblastoma, biological features have recently emerged that enable therapies to be scaled down in some cases, or pursued more aggressively in the event of chromosomal and/or genetic alterations (Massimino et al. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 105:35-51, 2016). Such refinements are still impossible for adult patients due to the lack of similar clinical trials that might provide the same or a different understanding regarding patients' prognosis, long-term survival, quality of life, and acute and late toxicities. This review aims to contribute to the debate on the treatment of adults with these two diseases and promote the creation of broad-based, national and international trials to advance our knowledge in this area and to share the skills between pediatric and adult oncologists as adolescent and young adults (AYA) brain tumor national boards are currently requiring.

Keywords: Adults; CNS germ cell tumors; Childhood cancers; Medulloblastoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy*