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J Clin Oncol. 1995 Jun;13(6):1377-83.

Survival and prognostic factors following radiation and/or chemotherapy for primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the pineal region in infants and children: a report of the Childrens Cancer Group.

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  • 1Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN, USA.



To describe the biologic and clinical features of children with primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) arising in the pineal region (pineoblastomas) and evaluate prospectively the efficacy of radiation therapy (RT) and/or chemotherapy.


Between 1986 and 1992, 25 children with PNETs of the pineal region were treated as part of a Childrens Cancer Group study. Eight infants less than 18 months of age were nonrandomly treated with eight-drugs-in-1-day chemotherapy without RT. The remaining 17 patients were treated with craniospinal RT and randomized to receive either vincristine, lomustine (CCNU), and prednisone or the eight-drugs-in-1-day regimen.


Of 24 completely staged patients, 20 (83%) had localized disease at diagnosis. All infants developed progressive disease a median of 4 months from the start of treatment. Of the 17 older patients treated with RT and chemotherapy, the Kaplan-Meier estimate of progression-free survival (PFS) at 3 years is 61% +/- 13%. This is superior to the PFS of children with other supratentorial PNETs (P = .026). Following RT, 12 of 17 patients (70.6%) had a residual pineal region mass, which persisted for as long as 5 years before resolving; only four subsequently developed progressive disease.


(1) Eight-in-1 chemotherapy without RT appears to be ineffective therapy for young children with PNETs of the pineal region. (2) For children more than 18 months of age at diagnosis treated with craniospinal RT and chemotherapy, the PFS is superior to that of children with other supratentorial PNETs. (3) A residual enhancing mass following RT is not predictive of treatment failure.

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