The term primary central nervous system tumors refers to a heterogeneous group of tumors characterized by their location in the central nervous system (CNS). These tumors exhibit a wide range of clinical behavior from extremely lethal (e.g., glioblastoma) to potentially curable (e.g., germ cell tumors and medulloblastomas). The occurrence of these tumors has devastating effects on patients, and their management can be major challenge to physicians. By virtue of their location, brain tumors cause a disproportionate amount of disability and pose a threat to a patient's sense of self that is unparalleled by any other disease. The currently available therapies for most primary CNS tumors have limited activity with significant toxicity. Survivors of these tumors often have significant residual neurologic and cognitive deficits that limit their functioning for the rest of their lives.
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