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J Neurosurg. 2000 Aug;93(2):245-53.

Efficacy of neuroendoscopic procedures in minimally invasive preferential management of pineal region tumors: a prospective study.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Tokai University, School of Medicine, Isehara, Kanagawa, Japan.



This prospective study is based on a consecutive series of 20 patients with pineal region tumors who underwent minimally invasive preferential management. The purpose of this report is to discuss the role of neuroendoscopic procedures in the management of pineal region tumors.


If the tumor markers alpha-fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin were not detected in serum and there was significant ventricular dilation visualized on neuroimages, neuroendoscopic surgery was first applied for tumor debulking with tissue diagnosis and gross morphological analysis of the tumor and the intraventricular structures, followed by third ventriculostomy. Subsequent procedures were determined on the basis of verified individual tumors. For treatment of germinomas and pineoblastomas, if no tumor dissemination was confirmed by pre-, intra-, or postoperative findings, stereotactic radiotherapy or radiosurgery was performed after one course of chemotherapy with the ICE regimen (isofomid, cisplatin, and etoposide) and followed by two additional courses of chemotherapy. For treatment of malignant germ cell tumors, after extensive surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy with the ICE regimen was performed in three courses in all cases. Then radiotherapy was started using various methods, depending on the evidence of tumor dissemination. For treatment of teratomatous and neuroectodermal tumors other than pineoblastomas, extensive surgical removal was performed. As for adjuvant therapy, if the tumor was a low-grade glioma or if the patient was younger than 5 years of age, postoperative treatment did not include radiotherapy. If the tumor was a malignant teratoma or high-grade glioma, conventional focal radiotherapy was performed, followed by chemotherapy with ICE for 1 year. All but two treated patients had ventriculomegaly. Neuroendoscopic procedures were performed in six of 15 treated patients. Neuroendoscopic biopsy with tumor debulking offered enough material for tissue diagnosis, including immunohistochemical analysis and, in one case, revealed evidence of tumor dissemination undetectable on neuroimaging. With one exception, no shunt was required in any patient undergoing endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Stereotactic radiotherapy was performed in indicated cases. Favorable therapeutic outcomes were obtained in all cases of germinoma and pineoblastoma, with follow-up periods ranging from 24 months to 6.5 years.


Our minimally invasive preferential regimen clarified the precise indication for neuroendoscopic procedures, and the majority of our patients with dilated ventricles and no evidence of tumor markers were treated satisfactorily with effective neuroendoscopic procedures as the initial procedure, avoiding unnecessary craniotomy and radiotherapy and promising excellent therapeutic outcomes. The treatment for malignant pineal region tumors remains a subject for further study.

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