A malignant form of pineal tumor is called pineoblastoma.
- Named for its location in or around the pineal gland (near the center of the brain)
- Can range from low grade to high grade
- Can produce an excess of melatonin, a hormone that controls the sleep/wake cycle
- Can block the ventricles, causing hydrocephalus
- High-grade pineal tumors can spread to the spinal cord through the CSF
- Common types include germ cell tumors, pineal parenchymal tumors, and gliomas
- Occurs most often in children and young adults
- Nausea and vomiting
- Double vision
- Memory problems
Surgery is standard treatment when possible. Radiation therapy may be used as primary treatment in adults and children above age three. Chemotherapy may be given to delay the use of radiation therapy in very young patients. A shunt may be needed to treat hydrocephalus (water on the brain) caused by blockage of the ventricles. Treatment for high-grade (malignant) pineal tumors such as a pineoblastoma may involve radiation to the brain and spine to control spread through the CSF. Clinical trials using chemotherapy or biological therapy following radiation therapy are being investigated.