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Pediatrics. 1984 Jul;74(1):97-102.

Pineal region tumors of childhood.


The incidence, response to treatment, and outcome of children with pineal region neoplasms is poorly characterized. Since 1975, in one institution, 25 consecutive patients with pineal tumors have undergone biopsy prior to further treatment. This constituted 11% (25/234) of all brain neoplasms seen over this time period. Specific tumors diagnosed included pineal parenchymal tumors ( pineoblastomas , pineocytomas ) in eight patients (32%); germ cell tumors (embryonal cell carcinomas, teratomas, germinomas) in eight patients (32%); glial tumors (astrocytoma, ganglioglioma ) in eight patients (32%); and ganglioneuroblastoma in one patient (4%). Clinical parameters, computed tomographic findings and CSF markers (alphafetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin) were unreliable in discriminating between specific tumor types. Response to treatment and patterns of disease relapse were dependent on the type of tumor present. Five of eight children with pineal parenchymal tumors had disease recurrence, and in all leptomeningeal dissemination occurred prior to or concurrent with local relapse. Three of eight children with germ cell tumors and two of eight patients with glial tumors suffered a relapse; in all five children recurrence was initially local. Findings suggest that pineal region neoplasms are not infrequent in childhood; that these tumors vary greatly in histologic type; that contrary to other reports germinomas do not constitute the majority of pineal tumors; and that histologic confirmation is necessary prior to treatment for appropriate management.

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