The natural history of pineal cysts in children and young adults

Clinical article

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Object

The authors reviewed their experience with pediatric pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.

Methods

The authors identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at their institution over an 11.5-year interval and were < 25 years of age at the time of diagnosis. All inclusion criteria were met in 106 patients, and included repeated MR imaging as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least a 6-month interval.

Results

The mean age at diagnosis was 11.7 ± 7.2 years. Forty-two patients were male and 64 were female. On follow-up MR imaging evaluation at a mean interval of 3.0 years from the initial study, 98 pineal cysts had no increase in size and no change in imaging appearance. Six pineal cysts increased in size and 2 others had a change in imaging characteristics without associated growth. Younger age was associated with cyst change or growth on follow-up imaging (p = 0.02). The mean age of patients with cysts that changed or grew was 5.5 years, and the mean age of patients with stable pineal cysts was 12.2 years. Initial cyst size and appearance on MR imaging were not significant predictors of growth or change in imaging appearance at follow-up. Similarly, the patient's sex was not a significant predictor of growth or change in imaging characteristics.

Conclusions

Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation may be considered optional in older children with pineal cysts.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: Cormac O. Maher, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan Health System, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Room 3552 Taubman Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5338. email: cmaher@umich.edu.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

Headings

Figures

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    Case 2. Sagittal (A) and axial (B) MR images obtained after Gd administration reveal a pineal cyst (see Table 1). Sagittal (C) and axial (D) images obtained at 2.9-year follow-up show interval enlargement of the cyst. This patient remains asymptomatic and no treatment has been recommended.

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    Case 8. Sagittal (left) MR image showing what was initially diagnosed as a multiseptated pineal cyst (see Table 1). Sagittal (right) image obtained at 3.7-year follow-up showing definite interval enlargement of the cyst. This patient developed diplopia and underwent resection of the lesion. Histological findings were consistent with pineocytoma.

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    Kaplan-Meier survival graph illustrating time to cyst change on neuroimaging. Cum = cumulative.

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