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Childs Nerv Syst. 1999 Mar;15(2-3):119-26; discussion 127.

Pineal region tumours in childhood. A 30-year experience.

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Department of Surgery, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


Patients aged under 16 years presenting to the Royal Children's Hospital between 1967 and 1997 with pineal region tumours were retrospectively reviewed. Thirty-seven patients were identified, with 13 germinomas, 7 nongerminomatous germ cell tumours, 6 pineoblastomas, 2 pineocytomas, and 3 astrocytomas, while in 6 patients no histopathological diagnosis was obtained. The most common presentation was with symptoms of raised intracranial pressure due to hydrocephalus. Thirty-two of the 37 patients required a shunt. Thirteen had a biopsy as a separate procedure, 3 of which were stereotactic. Tumour excision was performed in 21 patients and was complete in 4 and subtotal in 17. There were 2 perioperative deaths and 6 patients who were neurologically worse after surgery. Twenty-six patients had radiotherapy and 16 chemotherapy, with significant complications of radiotherapy in half of the patients who received it. The 5-year survival of patients with benign tumours was 75%, 5-year survival with germinomas 62% and with other malignant tumours 14%. This series demonstrates significant improvements in management of pineal region tumours in the last 30 years and highlights some of the current controversies. A collaborative research approach is necessary to determine optimal management of the varied tumour types occurring in the pineal region in childhood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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