Microarray analysis reveals differential gene expression patterns in tumors of the pineal region

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2006 Jul;65(7):675-84. doi: 10.1097/01.jnen.0000225907.90052.e3.


Several types of tumors are known to originate from the pineal region, among them pineal parenchymal tumors (PPTs) and papillary tumors of the pineal region (PTPRs), probably derived from the subcommissural organ. As a result of their rarity, their histologic diagnosis remains difficult. To identify molecular markers, using CodeLink oligonucleotide arrays, gene expression was studied in 3 PPTs (2 pineocytomas and one pineoblastoma), 2 PTPRs, and one chordoid glioma, another rare tumor of the third ventricle. Because PTPR and chordoid glioma may present ependymal differentiation, gene expression was also analyzed in 4 ependymomas. The gene patterns of the 3 PPTs fell in the same cluster. The pineocytomas showed high expression of TPH, HIOMT, and genes related to phototransduction in the retina (OPN4, RGS16, and CRB3), whereas the pineoblastoma showed high expression of UBEC2, SOX4, TERT, TEP1, PRAME, CD24, POU4F2, and HOXD13. Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction on 13 PPTs, we demonstrated that PRAME, CD24, POU4F2, and HOXD13 might be candidates for grading PPT with intermediate differentiation. PTPRs, classified with chordoid glioma and separately from ependymomas, showed high expression of SPEDF, KRT18, and genes encoding proteins reported to be expressed in the subcommissural organ, namely ZFH4, RFX3, TTR, and CGRP. Our results highlight the usefulness of gene expression profiling for classify tumors of the pineal region and identify genes with potential use as diagnostic markers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pineal Gland* / pathology
  • Pineal Gland* / physiology
  • Pinealoma / diagnosis
  • Pinealoma / genetics*
  • Pinealoma / metabolism
  • Pinealoma / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor