Tumors of the brain's pineal gland are rare and most often develop in children and teens. They can be benign or malignant and can have a variety of characteristics. Pineal tumors are complex and should be treated at a major medical center with advanced facilities and capabilities, by highly trained specialists with expertise in treating these tumors. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we have the experienced brain tumor specialists and resources needed to treat pineal tumors effectively.
For operable tumors, we use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible for tumor resection. Often, we perform endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) to treat hydrocephalus, helping to control pressure in the brain and drain extra fluid.
We use radiation as an alternative to surgery for pineal tumors. We also use it after surgery to kill any lingering cancer cells. We may use stereotactic radiosurgery to treat small pineal tumors. This treatment involves the use of a highly focused beam of radiation to target tumor cells while leaving surrounding brain tissue unaffected.
Anticancer drugs may be useful to treat inoperable pineal tumors, to shrink operable tumors before surgery, or to kill any cancer cells remaining after pineal tumor surgery.