Multimodality treatment for Central Nervous System Germ Cell Tumors: Disease spectrum and management strategies - A tertiary care center experience from India

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2021 Mar:202:106481. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106481. Epub 2021 Jan 13.


Objective: Intracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) are relatively rare neoplasms, representing 2-3 % of paediatric brain tumors in Western countries and 8-15 % in East Asia. Here, we discuss the clinical features and treatment outcomes in patients with central nervous system (CNS) GCTs treated at our institute.

Methods: Medical records of all primary CNS GCT patients were retrieved retrospectively from 2007 to 2019. Demographic, clinical, treatment and follow up details were entered in a predesigned proforma. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival was computed using Kaplan-Meier method and Log-Rank test. Effect of various prognostic factors on survival outcomes was assessed by univariate and multivariate analysis.

Results: A total of 28 CNS GCT patients were included in this analysis. Median age at presentation was 17 years (range, 7-45 years) with a male to female ratio of 1.8:1. Pineal region was the commonest location, encountered in 15 patients (53.6 %). Pure germinoma was the most frequent histology observed, seen in 19 patients (67.9 %). Male gender and germinoma histology were highly associated with pineal location (p = 0.043 and p = 0.052, respectively). Fourteen patients underwent surgical intervention and nine patients underwent biopsy for diagnostic purpose or to relieve the obstructive symptoms. Only 23 patients (82.1 %) received chemotherapy. However, all patients received radiotherapy (Craniospinal irradiation/whole brain radiotherapy/whole ventricular radiotherapy/ or local radiotherapy). After a median follow-up of 53 months (range, 7-150), 23 patients (82.1 %) were alive. OS was significantly affected by histology (89 % in germinoma vs. 60 % in non-germinomatous, p = 0.054) and location (93 % in pineal region vs. 64.2 % in other location, p = 0.042). Age, gender and surgery did not have any impact on the survival outcomes.

Conclusion: CNS GCTs are relatively rare and heterogeneous neoplasms commonly seen in pineal and suprasellar locations. A combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy had shown excellent outcomes.

Keywords: Central nervous system; Germ cell tumor; Germinoma; Multimodality treatment; Non-germinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy*
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Tertiary Healthcare
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult