Germ Cell Tumors
Reference work entry
Germ cell tumors are tumors comprised primarily of germ cells, which are embryonic in origin. The gonads (testes, ovaries) are the most common sites of germ cell tumors, but they also occur in other regions including the central nervous system. Histologically, germ cell tumors are divided into two types: germinomas and differentiated or non-germinoma germ cells. Intracranially, non-germinoma germ cell tumors are commonly found in midline locations such as the suprasellar region and/or the pineal region. They are relatively rare in both children and adults. Types of non-germinoma germ cell tumors include benign or malignant teratomas, embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac tumor, and choriocarcinoma. Malignant non-germinoma germ cell tumors are often resistant to treatment and have a poorer prognosis. Clinical presentation of non-germinoma germ cell tumors depends on the age of onset and tumor location. Symptoms due to raised intracranial pressure such as headache, nausea, and...
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