Update on current standard treatments in central nervous system germ cell tumors

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Various approaches have been used for the management of patients with germ cell tumors (GCTs) in the central nervous system (CNS); however, the optimal treatment of both germinoma and nongerminomatous GCTs remains unknown. This review discusses current management strategies and late effects of therapy for CNS GCTs.

Recent findings

To reduce the late complications of radiation therapy for patients with germinoma, many investigators have introduced dose reduction of radiation therapy in association with platinum-based chemotherapy. In addition, the radiation field has been restricted to the whole ventricular area for localized germinoma. This type of combination therapy has shown promising results and preserves cognitive function and quality of life. Despite various approaches including high-dose chemotherapy against highly malignant or relapsed GCTs, the prognoses of these patients remain dismal except for a few successful reports.

Summary

The 10-year survival rate of CNS germinoma is approximately 90%. Most patients with CNS GCTs are children and young adults. Therefore, with the improving life prognosis of young patients, secondary neoplasms, secondary cerebral vasculopathy, neurocognitive deficits, and many other adverse effects induced by the initial treatments are problems to be solved in the next decade.

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