MRI and CT findings of neurohypophyseal germinoma

Eur J Radiol. 2004 Mar;49(3):204-11. doi: 10.1016/S0720-048X(03)00172-4.


Objective: Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and computed tomography (CT) findings of neurohypophyseal germinoma have not previously been described in detail. The purpose of the present study was to establish the spectrum of MR imaging and CT findings in neurohypophyseal germinomas.

Materials and methods: MR and CT images of 13 consecutive patients (seven males, six females; mean age: 15 years; range: 6-31 years) with neurohypophyseal germinoma were retrospectively analyzed. The diagnosis had been made either histologically (n=8) or clinically according to established criteria (n=5). All patients had been examined using MR imaging and CT before treatment.

Results: On MR imaging, infundibular thickening (up to 16 mm) was observed in all 13 cases. Hyperintensity of the posterior pituitary on T1-weighted image was absent in all 13 cases (100%) and 12 of the 13 displayed central diabetes insipidus. Ten germinomas (77%) were isointense to cerebral cortex on T1-weighted image, but variable intensities were exhibited on T2-weighted image. MR images revealed intratumoral cysts in six cases (46%), most of which demonstrated intra-third ventricular extension. Eleven of the 13 cases (85%) revealed hyperdense solid components on unenhanced CT. Calcification was absent in all cases (100%).

Conclusion: Infundibular thickening, absence of the posterior pituitary high signal on T1-weighted image, lack of calcification and hyperdensity on unenhanced CT are common imaging features of neurohypophyseal germinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Neurogenic / complications
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Germinoma / complications
  • Germinoma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pituitary Gland / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • gadodiamide
  • Gadolinium DTPA