Molecular genetic analysis of central nervous system germ cell tumors with comparative genomic hybridization

Dominik T. Schneider*, Susanne Zahn, Sonja Sievers, Katayoun Alemazkour, Guido Reifenberger, Otmar D. Wiestler, Gabriele Calaminus, Ulrich Göbel, Elizabeth J. Perlman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The limited information available to date regarding the genetic alterations in germ cell tumors of the central nervous system has raised concerns about their biologic relationship to other germ cell tumor entities. We investigated fresh-frozen or archival tumor samples from 19 patients with central nervous system germ cell tumors (CNS-GCTs), including seven germinomas, eight malignant nongerminomatous germ cell tumors and four teratomas, using chromosomal comparative genomic hybridization to determine recurrent chromosomal imbalances. All 15 malignant CNS-GCTs and two of four teratomas showed multiple chromosomal imbalances. Chromosomal gains (median: 4 gains/tumor, range: 0-9 gains/tumor) were observed more frequently than losses (median: 1.6 losses/tumor, range: 0-6 losses/tumor). Gain of 12p, which is considered characteristic for germ cell tumors of the adult testis, was detected in 11 of 19 tumors and 10 of 15 malignant CNS-GCTs. In one tumor, gain of 12p was confined to an amplicon at 12p12, corresponding to the commonly amplified region on 12p. Other common gains were found on chromosome arms 1q and 8q (n = 9, each). Among the chromosomal losses, parts of chromosome 11 (n = 5), 18 (n = 4), and 13 (n = 3) were deleted most frequently. Notably, we observed no difference in the genetic profiles of germinomatous and nongerminomatous CNS-GCTs; however, the average number of imbalances was higher in the latter group. A meta-analysis comparing 116 malignant gonadal and extragonadal germ cell tumors revealed that the genomic alterations in CNS-GCTs are virtually indistinguishable from those found in their gonadal or other extragonadal counterparts of the corresponding age group. These data strongly argue in favor of common pathogenetic mechanisms in gonadal and extragonadal germ cell tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-873
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Central nervous system
  • Chromosomal profile
  • Extragonadal
  • Germ cell tumor
  • Isochromosome 12p
  • Meta-analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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