The overall risk for brain metastases among children and adolescents with extracranial malignant germ cell tumors (mGCT) is low but may vary between subgroups. Early identification of subgroups with an increased risk for brain metastasis is therefore important.
We analyzed 900/2,160 patients from the German MAHO/MAKEI registry on children and adolescents with malignant extracranial GCT (pure teratomas (grade 0–3) were not included). For follow-up evaluation, patients with brain metastases at diagnosis and those with a follow-up shorter than 32 months after diagnosis (longest interval to brain metastases in our cohort) were excluded. Patients were censored at detection of brain metastases or death due to other causes. A decision tree analysis considering age, gender, site of primary tumor, and presence of other metastases at diagnosis as risk factors for brain metastases was performed.
Among 838 eligible patients, 9 acquired brain metastases during follow-up, accounting for death in 5. There were no brain metastases in absence of extracranial metastases at diagnosis. If extracranial metastases were detected in absence of mediastinal mGCT the risk for brain metastases was 1.2% (95% CI: 0.2–3.5.%). In contrast, risk was increased to 37.5 (95% CI 15.2–64.6%) in patients with mediastinal GCTs and extracranial metastases.
A high-risk subgroup is detected with a decision tree analysis approach. These patients may benefit from an intensified chemotherapy. Close surveillance for CNS-metastases is warranted in this high-risk group while less close monitoring in low-risk patients is justified. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013;60:217–223. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.