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J Neurooncol. 2009 Jul;93(3):387-94. doi: 10.1007/s11060-008-9792-1. Epub 2009 Jan 25.

Contribution of the daily melatonin profile to diagnosis of tumors of the pineal region.

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Service de Neurochirurgie, Groupement Hospitalier Est, Bron, France.


Tumors of the pineal region (TPR) include different entities: germ cell tumors (GCT), pineal parenchymal tumors (PPT), meningiomas, and glial tumors. Except for GCT, there are no peripheral markers and histopathological diagnosis needs biopsy or surgery. We studied daily melatonin variations in twenty-nine patients with TPR and five with tectal plate glioma (TPG), used as controls, before and/or after surgery. Before surgery, a melatonin nycthemeral rhythm was observed in patients with TPG and TPR (one cyst, three PPT, one papillary tumor of the pineal region, two meningiomas, six gliomas). Melatonin rhythm was dramatically reduced for undifferentiated or invasive tumors. After surgery, the absence of melatonin variation in some cases could be the consequence of pineal damage by surgery. The contribution of determination of melatonin profiles to the diagnosis of TPR remains limited but of interest. The evidence for melatonin deficiency could justify melatonin administration to prevent the postpinealectomy syndrome.

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