Germinoma epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Simrat Sarai, M.D. [2]


The peak of germinoma occurs at ages 15-19 years: the median age at diagnosis is 10-12 years. CNS germ cell tumors commonly affects individuals between birth and 34 years of age. Males are more commonly affected with pineal germinoma than females. The male to female ratio is approximately 5-22 to 1. Females are more commonly affected with suprasellar germinoma than males. The female to male ratio is approximately 1.3:1.

Epidemiology and Demographics

  • Germinomas account for approximately 5% of all intracranial tumors seen in individuals younger than 20 years of age.
  • Pineal lesions occur more commonly than suprasellar lesions, at a ratio of 2:1. Tumors of the pineal area comprise 50-60% of CNS germ cell tumors; those of the suprasellar region comprise 30-40%. CNS germ cell tumors may also occur in the thalamus, basal ganglia, and cerebral hemispheres.
  • Primary CNS germ cell tumors are more common in Japan and other countries in Asia compared with North America.
  • Primary CNS germ cell tumors account for approximately 2-3% of all intracranial tumors and approximately 8-15% of pediatric brain tumors in the Far East.
  • Location of CNS germ cell tumors also varies by sex. In males, approximately 70% of tumors occur in the pineal area; In females, approximately 75% of CNS germ cell tumors occur in the suprasellar areas.
  • Approximately 90% of patients with germ cell tumors are younger than 20 at the time of diagnosis.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


The incidence of germinoma is approximately 0.2 per 100,000 individuals worldwide.[7][1][8]


The peak incidence of germinoma occurs at ages 15-19 years: the median age at diagnosis is 10-12 years. CNS germ cell tumors commonly affects individuals between birth and 34 years of age. Germinomas are considered primarily a disease of adolescents and young adults.

Age distribution of CNS germ cell tumors is shown below in a tabular from:[9]

Age percentage % of cases of germ cell tumors
0-14 years
  • 34%
15-29 years
  • 57%
30-44 years
  • 9%


Germinoma usually affects individuals of the Asian race. Caucasian individuals are less likely to develop germinoma.[2][10]


Gender ratios are different depending on location. In the pineal region there is a marked male preponderance with a male to female ratio of 5-22:1 whereas in the suprasellar region, there is slight female preponderance with a male to female ratio of 1:1.3. Due to the pineal region being most common, germinomas are seen more frequently in males. An overall male predominance is noted in CNS germ cell tumors. The incidence of CNS germ cell tumors in males, all ages combined, was 3.7 times that seen in females.[6][11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Keene D, Johnston D, Strother D, Fryer C, Carret AS, Crooks B; et al. (2007). "Epidemiological survey of central nervous system germ cell tumors in Canadian children". J Neurooncol. 82 (3): 289–95. doi:10.1007/s11060-006-9282-2. PMID 17120159.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Matsutani M, Japanese Pediatric Brain Tumor Study Group (2001). "Combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy for CNS germ cell tumors--the Japanese experience". J Neurooncol. 54 (3): 311–6. PMID 11767296.
  3. Saran, Frank; Peoples, Sharon (2008). "Pineal Tumors: Germinomas and Non-Germinomatous Germ Cell Tumors": 310–317. doi:10.1002/9781444300222.ch41.
  4. McCarthy BJ, Shibui S, Kayama T, Miyaoka E, Narita Y, Murakami M; et al. (2012). "Primary CNS germ cell tumors in Japan and the United States: an analysis of 4 tumor registries". Neuro Oncol. 14 (9): 1194–200. doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos155. PMC 3424216. PMID 22869621.
  5. Palmer RD, Foster NA, Vowler SL, Roberts I, Thornton CM, Hale JP; et al. (2007). "Malignant germ cell tumours of childhood: new associations of genomic imbalance". Br J Cancer. 96 (4): 667–76. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6603602. PMC 2360055. PMID 17285132.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Goodwin TL, Sainani K, Fisher PG (2009). "Incidence patterns of central nervous system germ cell tumors: a SEER Study". J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 31 (8): 541–4. doi:10.1097/MPH.0b013e3181983af5. PMID 19636276.
  7. Villano JL, Propp JM, Porter KR, Stewart AK, Valyi-Nagy T, Li X; et al. (2008). "Malignant pineal germ-cell tumors: an analysis of cases from three tumor registries". Neuro Oncol. 10 (2): 121–30. doi:10.1215/15228517-2007-054. PMC 2613814. PMID 18287340.
  8. Echevarría ME, Fangusaro J, Goldman S (2008). "Pediatric central nervous system germ cell tumors: a review". Oncologist. 13 (6): 690–9. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2008-0037. PMID 18586924.
  9. Kaur H, Singh D, Peereboom DM (2003). "Primary central nervous system germ cell tumors". Curr Treat Options Oncol. 4 (6): 491–8. PMID 14585229.
  10. Matsutani M (2009). "Pineal germ cell tumors". Prog Neurol Surg. 23: 76–85. doi:10.1159/000210054. PMID 19329862.
  11. Germ cell tumors. Radiopedia(2015) Accessed on January 25, 2016