OBJECTIVES: Malignant ovarian germ cell tumours (MOGCT) are rare cancers of young women. Limited prospective trials exist from which evidence-based management can be developed. This review summarizes the available literature concerning MOGT in order to provide the clinician with information relevant to their multidisciplinary management. METHODS: MEDLINE was searched between 1966 and 2010 for all publications in English where the studied population included women diagnosed with malignant ovarian germ cell tumours. RESULTS: The majority of patients can be cured with fertility-preserving surgery with or without combination chemotherapy. Long term survival approaches 100% in early stage disease and is approximately 75% in advanced stage disease. Most studies suggest that the treatment has little, if any, effect on future fertility and limited data suggest that there is no adverse effect on the future quality of life. CONCLUSION: MOGCTs are rare tumours of young women the majority of which can be successfully treated with fertility-preserving surgery with or without chemotherapy with preservation of reproductive function. Minimisation of chemotherapy in good prognostic groups and improved treatment in resistant and relapsed MOGCT are important goals for the future. Further studies are needed to quantify the late adverse effects of treatment in long term survivors.