PURPOSE: This phase II trial evaluated the effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without second-look surgery before craniospinal irradiation on response rates and survival outcomes in children with newly diagnosed nongerminomatous germ cell tumors. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Induction chemotherapy consisted of six cycles of carboplatin/etoposide alternating with ifosfamide/etoposide. Patients demonstrating less than complete response after induction chemotherapy were encouraged to undergo second-look surgery. Patients who did not achieve complete response or partial response after chemotherapy with or without second-look surgery proceeded to high-dose chemotherapy with thiotepa and etoposide and autologous peripheral blood stem-cell rescue before craniospinal irradiation. RESULTS: The study included 102 patients treated between January 2004 and July 2008. Median age was 12 years, and 76% were male; 53.9% had pineal region masses, and 23.5% had suprasellar lesions. Sixty-nine percent of patients achieved complete response or partial response with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. At 5 years, event-free survival was 84% +/- 4% (SE) and overall survival was 93% +/- 3%. During the median follow-up of 5.1 years, 16 patients recurred or progressed, with seven deaths after relapse. No deaths were attributed to therapy-related toxicity. Relapse occurred at the site of primary disease in 10 patients, at a distant site in three patients, or both in one patient. In two patients, progression was detected by marker increase alone. Increased serum alpha-fetoprotein was a negative prognostic variable. Histologic subtype and increase of beta-human chorionic gonadotropin were not significantly correlated with worse outcomes. CONCLUSION: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without second-look surgery achieved high response rates contributing to excellent survival outcomes in children with newly diagnosed nongerminomatous germ cell tumors. This regimen should be included as a backbone for further studies.