Psychiatric manifestations as initial presentation for pediatric CNS germ cell tumors, a case series

F. Malbari, T. R. Gershon, J. H. Garvin, J. C. Allen, Y. Khakoo, A. S. Levy, I. J. Dunkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Central nervous system (CNS) germ cell tumors account for 3 % of all pediatric brain tumors in the USA. Presenting symptoms are typically location based with pineal tumors presenting with obstructive hydrocephalus and suprasellar tumors with hypothalamic/pituitary dysfunction and ophthalmologic abnormalities. Psychiatric manifestations such as psychosis and behavioral changes are atypical presentations of CNS germ cell tumors, with only 11 previously reported cases. Methods: This is a retrospective case series describing patients with CNS germ cell tumors with an atypical presentation including psychiatric manifestations. Information regarding clinical presentation, treatment course, and outcome were obtained. Results: We report seven patients who presented with psychiatric symptoms consisting of psychomotor delay as well as behavioral and mood changes. Six of the seven patients were diagnosed ≥6 months after onset of psychiatric symptoms. All of the seven are alive but five continue to have neurologic and psychiatric issues post treatment. Conclusions: Atypical presentations of CNS germ cell tumors can delay diagnosis and treatment and may be secondary to atypical locations as well as endocrine dysfunction manifesting as psychiatric symptoms. Delayed diagnosis did not appear to affect survival but earlier diagnosis may potentially be associated with better neurologic and psychiatric outcome. Patients who present with these symptoms and atypical neuroimaging should have a thorough evaluation for CNS germ cell tumors including serum and CSF markers. Clinicians should be aware of these less common presentations to aid in prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1359-1362
Number of pages4
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • CNS germ cell tumors
  • Endocrine dysfunction
  • Psychiatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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