The natural history of pineal cysts in children and young adults

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2010 Feb;5(2):162-6. doi: 10.3171/2009.9.PEDS09297.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysts / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pineal Gland / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Young Adult