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Germ cell tumor of the brain

Every year, approximately 8-10 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a germ cell tumor of the brain. The tumor can occur at any age and just as often in boys as in girls.

The brochure entitled Germ cell tumors contains comprehensive information about this disease. The most important information is provided below.


Causes

Germ cell tumors are caused by a developmental error in one of the reproductive cells. Presumably, something has already changed in the cell's DNA in the nucleus before birth. The cause of that change is unknown.

Symptoms

Children with a germ cell tumor of the brain often suffer symptoms such as headaches, nausea, difficulty seeing or an unsteady gait. Furthermore, hormone changes can cause obesity, growth retardation or early puberty.

How is germ cell tumor of the brain diagnosed?

An MRI scan is performed and blood and cerebrospinal fluid are drawn and then examined in the laboratory. In some instances, a biopsy is necessary in order to make a firm diagnosis.

Treatment

Children with a germ cell tumor are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. Treatment usually consists of chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy.

Chance of recovery

On average, children with a germ cell tumor stand a 90% chance of recovery.

Questions?

Children and adolescents with a germ cell tumor of the brain are treated in the neuro-oncology department.