Pediatric pineoblastoma: A pooled outcome study of North American and Australian therapeutic data

Neurooncol Adv. 2022 Apr 14;4(1):vdac056. doi: 10.1093/noajnl/vdac056. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


Background: Pineoblastoma is a rare brain tumor usually diagnosed in children. Given its rarity, no pineoblastoma-specific trials have been conducted. Studies have included pineoblastoma accruing for other embryonal tumors over the past 30 years. These included only occasional children with pineoblastoma, making clinical features difficult to interpret and determinants of outcome difficult to ascertain.

Patients and methods: Centrally or independently reviewed series with treatment and survival data from North American and Australian cases were pooled. To investigate associations between variables, Fisher's exact tests, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests, and Spearman correlations were used. Kaplan-Meier plots, log-rank tests, and Cox proportional hazards models were used in survival analyses.

Results: We describe a pooled cohort of 178 pineoblastoma cases from Children's Oncology Group (n = 82) and institutional series (n = 96) over 30 years. Children <3 years of age have significantly worse survival compared to older children, with 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) estimates of 13.5 ± 5.1% and 16.2 ± 5.3%, respectively, compared with 60.8 ± 5.6% and 67.3 ± 5.0% for ≥3 years old (both P < .0001). Multivariable analysis showed male sex was associated with worse PFS in children <3 years of age (hazard ratio [HR] 3.93, 95% CI 1.80-8.55; P = .0006), suggestive of sex-specific risks needing future validation. For children ≥3 years of age, disseminated disease at diagnosis was significantly associated with an inferior 5-year PFS of 39.2 ± 9.7% (HR 2.88, 95% CI 1.52-5.45; P = .0012) and 5-year OS of 49.8 ± 9.1% (HR 2.87, 95% CI 1.49-5.53; P = .0016).

Conclusion: Given the rarity of this tumor, prospective, collaborative international studies will be vital to improving the long-term survival of these patients.

Keywords: pediatrics; pineoblastoma; retrospective study.