Introduction: Examples of the spontaneous regression of primary intracranial germinomas can be found in the literature. We present the case of a patient with disseminated lesions of primary intracranial germinoma which synchronously shrunk following diagnostic irradiation. We will discuss whether this regression was spontaneous or radiation-induced.
Case presentation: A 43-year-old Japanese woman presented to our hospital complaining of memory problems over a period of one year and blurred vision over a period of three months. Following magnetic resonance imaging, she was found to have a massive lesion in the third ventricle and small lesions in the pineal region, fourth ventricle, and in the anterior horn of the left lateral ventricle. Prior to an open biopsy to confirm the pathology of the lesions, she underwent a single cranial computed tomography scan and a single cranial digital subtraction angiography for a transcranial biopsy. Fourteen days after the first magnetic resonance image - 12 and eight days after the computed tomography scan and digital subtraction angiography, respectively - a pre-operative magnetic resonance image was taken, which showed a notable synchronous shrinkage of the third ventricle tumor, as well as shrinkage of the lesions in the pineal region and in the fourth ventricle. She did not undergo steroid administration until after a biopsy that confirmed the pathological diagnosis of pure germinoma. She then underwent whole craniospinal irradiation and went into a complete remission.
Conclusions: In our case report, we state that diagnostic radiation can induce the regression of germinomas; this is the most reasonable explanation for the synchronous multiple regression observed in this case of germinoma. Clinicians should keep this non-spontaneous regression in mind and monitor germinoma lesions with minimal exposure to diagnostic radiation before diagnostic confirmation, and also before radiation treatment with or without chemotherapy begins.