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Germ Cell Brain Tumor Treatment

Germ cell brain tumors are rare brain tumors that account for 2–3% of all primary intracranial tumors. They develop in the pineal or suprasellar region of the brain. These tumors can spread to other sites in the brain, spine, and cerebrospinal fluid.

Learn more about germ cell brain tumors on the Together by St. Jude online resource.

Types of germ cell brain tumors

Special testing is necessary to identify different types of germ cell tumors. Types of germ cell brain tumors include:

  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Embryonal carcinoma
  • Germinoma
  • Immature teratoma
  • Mature teratoma
  • Mixed germ cell tumor
  • Non-germinomatous germ cell tumor
  • Teratoma with somatic-type malignancy
  • Yolk sac tumor/endodermal sinus tumor

Treatment of germ cell brain tumors

Most germ cell tumors are treated with chemotherapy along with radiation therapy.

  • Chemotherapy (chemo) uses powerful medicines to kill cancer cells or stop them from spreading.
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
  • Surgery to diagnose the tumor type (biopsy) and to remove all or part of the tumor is needed in certain situations. Your oncologist will discuss with you the role of surgery.

Germ cell tumors (brain) clinical trials

St. Jude offers clinical trials and cancer research studies for children, teens, and young adults for germ cell brain tumors and other brain tumors. Learn more about clinical research at St. Jude.

There are no open clinical trials for germ cell brain tumors at this time.

Browse open clinical trials

Germ cell brain tumor care at St. Jude

St. Jude provides the highest quality of care for patients with germ cell tumors:

  • We bring together medical experts and specially trained staff to care for your child. We also work with brain surgeons (neurosurgeons) at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
  • We have a special team that helps better understand the makeup of the tumor. This team includes doctors and scientists who study:
    • Cancer cells
    • How the cancer happened
    • Current medicines and treatments to kill cancer cells
    • What makes these cancer cells grow and what new medicines can stop them
    • New medicines and other therapies to improve how treatments work
  • Our brain tumor clinical trials have led to better therapies in children. These improvements include lower-dose therapies, targeted therapy, and proton therapy. These treatments kill cancer cells while sparing healthy cells and may lessen the severity of side effects that affect brain function after treatment for some types of brain tumors.
  • The St. Jude Proton Therapy Center is the first center in the world that treats only children with this therapy.
  • Along with the treatment studies constantly being developed at St. Jude, the staff also treats patients on studies developed by the Children’s Oncology Group, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium. Many St. Jude staff members play key roles in developing these studies. They are large trials carried out at multiple centers across the United States. 
  • St. Jude offers a dedicated team of specialists to meet the needs of children with brain tumors, including:

More reasons to choose St. Jude for care include:

  • We are consistently ranked among the best childhood cancer centers in the nation by US News & World Report.
  • At St. Jude, we have created an environment where children can be children and families can be together.
  • We lead more clinical trials for childhood cancer than any other hospital in the U.S. 
  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center just for children. A Comprehensive Cancer Center meets rigorous standards for research that develops new and better approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.
  • The nurse-to-patient ratio at St. Jude is about 1:3 in hematology and oncology and 1:1 in the Intensive Care Unit.
  • Patients may be able to get expert, compassionate care and treatment closer to their homes through our St. Jude Affiliate clinics.

Get more information about the Brain Tumor Treatment program at St. Jude.

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Seeking treatment at St. Jude

Patients accepted to St. Jude must have a disease we treat and must be referred by a physician or other qualified medical professional. We accept most patients based on their ability to enroll in an open clinical trial.

How to seek treatment

Contact us

You can start the referral process by letting your physician know you would like a second opinion from St. Jude. They can contact our 24-hour beeper service or contact our brain tumor coordinator. You may also contact the brain tumor coordinator directly with questions. 

Learn more about the types of brain tumors we treat at St. Jude and our brain tumor eligibility requirements.

Physician / Patient Referral Office

Call: 1-888-226-4343 (toll-free) or 901-595-4055 (local)  | Email:
Fax: 901-595-4011 | 24-hour pager: 1-800-349-4334

Contact the Brain Tumor Team directly:

Submit brain tumor contact form

Contact the Surgery Team directly:


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