Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Childhood Central Nervous System Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version

Long-Term Effects of Childhood CNS Germ Cell Tumors

A significant proportion of children with central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors (GCTs) present with endocrinopathies, including diabetes insipidus and panhypopituitarism. In most cases, these endocrinopathies are permanent despite tumor control and will need continuous hormone replacement therapy.[1-3]

Although significant improvements in the overall survival of patients with CNS GCTs have occurred, patients face significant late effects based on the location of the primary tumor and its treatment. Treatment-related late effects include the following:

  • Each chemotherapeutic agent has its own characteristic long-term side effects.
  • Radiation therapy to the areas commonly affected by GCTs is known to cause a decline in patient performance status, visual-field impairments, extraocular movement disturbances, endocrine disorders, and learning disabilities.[4-7]
  • Second tumors have been identified in this population, some of which are thought to be related to previous irradiation.[8]

Current clinical trials and therapeutic approaches are directed at minimizing the long-term sequelae of the treatment of CNS GCTs.


  1. Rosenblum MK, Matsutani M, Van Meir EG: CNS germ cell tumours. In: Kleihues P, Cavenee WK, eds.: Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of the Nervous System. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2000, pp 208-14.
  2. Hoffman HJ, Otsubo H, Hendrick EB, et al.: Intracranial germ-cell tumors in children. J Neurosurg 74 (4): 545-51, 1991. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Jennings MT, Gelman R, Hochberg F: Intracranial germ-cell tumors: natural history and pathogenesis. J Neurosurg 63 (2): 155-67, 1985. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Osuka S, Tsuboi K, Takano S, et al.: Long-term outcome of patients with intracranial germinoma. J Neurooncol 83 (1): 71-9, 2007. [PUBMED Abstract]
  5. Balmaceda C, Finlay J: Current advances in the diagnosis and management of intracranial germ cell tumors. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 4 (3): 253-62, 2004. [PUBMED Abstract]
  6. Odagiri K, Omura M, Hata M, et al.: Treatment outcomes, growth height, and neuroendocrine functions in patients with intracranial germ cell tumors treated with chemoradiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 84 (3): 632-8, 2012. [PUBMED Abstract]
  7. Liang SY, Yang TF, Chen YW, et al.: Neuropsychological functions and quality of life in survived patients with intracranial germ cell tumors after treatment. Neuro Oncol 15 (11): 1543-51, 2013. [PUBMED Abstract]
  8. Jabbour SK, Zhang Z, Arnold D, et al.: Risk of second tumor in intracranial germinoma patients treated with radiation therapy: the Johns Hopkins experience. J Neurooncol 91 (2): 227-32, 2009. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: April 9, 2015