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Germinoma is the name for about a dozen types of tumors that arise in the pineal gland area of the brain. Pineal tumor patients typically experience a buildup of fluid within the brain, causing headaches, nausea and impaired vision.

Precise diagnosis of the type of germinoma is critical to the determination of treatment. Our neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists offer germinoma patients the best and most advanced therapies.


A patient first undergoes a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine the tumor's location, size and shape. A computed tomography (CT) scan may also be used to learn whether the tumor has calcified. Both scans also help physicians determine the amount of fluid buildup in the brain.

A biopsy often is performed to assess the type of tumor. Tissue samples can be gathered with minimally invasive surgical techniques, including an endoscopy or stereotactic needle biopsy. If tests of blood or cerebrospinal fluid can detect levels of certain chemicals, a biopsy may not be needed.


Germinoma treatments include:

  • Surgical management of hydrocephalus

Treatment for a germinoma usually begins with surgery to reduce fluid buildup in the brain. This can be done endoscopically and also by inserting a shunt to allow the fluid to drain.

  • Surgical removal

Removing germinomas can be difficult because they are usually located deep within the brain and near areas that control vital functions. More typically, a biopsy is performed to reduce the size of the tumor.

  • Radiation

More than two-thirds of germinomas are highly sensitive to radiation therapy, including stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), in which high-powered X-rays are trained as precisely as possible on the tumor.

  • Chemotherapy

Many germinomas respond best to a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 714-456-8000 or email us. A team physician will respond within 24 hours.

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