Pineal region tumours in childhood. A 30-year experience

Katharine J. Drummond, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld

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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 turnouts, 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 turnouts 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Germ cell tumour
  • Pineal region tumour
  • Pineoblastoma
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery

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