Germ Cell Tumors of the Brain

Jonathan Finlay, MD, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California
The family of tumors known as germ cell tumors can develop anywhere in the body, most commonly in the male testicles and female ovaries, but also in other locations in the pelvis, abdomen, chest and brain. These tumors are considered to arise from nests of embryonic cells that were traveling along the primitive notochord during early fetal development down to their usual locations (ie. to the genitals), but somehow became arrested in their migration. Those tumors arising in the brain do so mainly from mid-line locations of the pineal gland (at the rear end of the third ventricle) and the suprasellar and
hypothalamic region (at the front end of the third ventricle).

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