Central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors (GCTs) are part of the extragonadal GCTs which display the same morphological spectrum as those in the gonads and other extragonadal sites. Like other extragonadal GCTs, CNS GCTs are thought to be derived from primordial germ cell, embryonic, or fetal cell inclusions in the developing neural structure prior to its closure [8]. A large amount of data concerning the epidemiology of gonadal GCTs has been gathered. However, the descriptive epidemiology of extragonadal GCTs, including those of the central nervous system, has always proved problematic due to the rarity of the disease. In addition, the classical term “pinealoma” blurred germinoma’s distinction from other pineal parenchymal tumors. Furthermore, high sensitivity to irradiation has created a reluctance among physicians to intervene surgically, preventing the establishment of accurate histological diagnosis. In recent years, however, a considerable amount of data has been gathered, based on improved diagnoses provided by modern imaging technology and microsurgery. This chapter reviews the incidence of CNS GCTs and their variable determining factors, such as histological types, racial/geographical features, gender and age, genetic characteristics, and viral infections.


Pineal Region Klinefelter Syndrome Suprasellar Region Sertoli Cell Tumor Intracranial Germ Cell Tumor 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Tada
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryHokkaido University School of MedicineSapporoJapan

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