A Pineal Germinoma is the most common type of tumor that forms in the pinealoma gland.
The pinealoma gland is a small gland found in the center of the brain. It is responsible for producing serotonin and plays a role in circadian rhythms and wake/sleep patterns. Pineal Germinoma most often occur in young adults and children.
The causes of Pineal Germinoma are not known, but it is believed that they are the result of an error during development where cells fail to migrate properly.
Signs & Symptoms
Early symptoms of a Pineal Germinoma may include insomnia, paralysis of the upward gaze and eyelid retraction. If gone undiagnosed and allowed to progress the Pineal Germinoma may result in more serious neurological issues such as trouble walking, the onset of early puberty and water on the brain. As the tumor grows it can crowd the tissue and organs around it causing enlarged ventricles and pressure in the head.
Diagnosis for Pineal Germinoma begins with a thorough neurological exam that usually includes a CT scan and an MRI. This type of tumor cannot always be definitively diagnosed through imaging alone. Often surgery is performed to gather a sample of the tissue to examine it further. If the tumor produces beta-HCG or AFP (alpha-feto protein) then it is ruled out as being a Pineal Germinoma. Pineal Germinoma do not produce these.
Traditional treatment for Pineal Germinoma includes chemotherapy and radiation. Surgery is sometimes also performed to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
With proper diagnosis and treatment the prognosis for Pineal Germinoma is quite good. The five-year survival rate with radiation is as high as 90%. The tumor cells may spread to other areas, but with proper radiation treatment there are low recurrences of this.