The germ-cell tumours are a fascinating group of neoplasms because of their unusual biology and the spectacular therapeutic results that have been obtained in these tumours. Traditionally, this group of neoplasms is presented in an organ-oriented approach. However, recent clinical and experimental data convincingly demonstrate that these neoplasms are one disease with separate entities that can manifest themselves in different anatomical sites. We propose five entities, in which the developmental potential is determined by the maturation stage and imprinting status of the originating germ cell. Recent progress begins to explain the apparent unpredictable development of germ-cell tumours and offers a basis for understanding their exquisite sensitivity to therapy.