Pineal gland

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The pineal gland is thingy that is most noted for the fact that it calcifies with age.

Normal histology

See Neurohistology#Pineal gland.
  • Cellular.



  • Cysts


  • Primary pineal tumours ~15% of (pineal) tumours - benign to malignant:[2]
    • Pineocytoma.
    • Pineal parenchymal tumor of intermediate differentiation.
    • Pineoblastoma.
  • Germ cell tumours:
  • Others:

Pineal gland cyst

  • Quite common. [3]
  • large cysts can cause CSF obstruction. [4]



  • Benign tumour of the pineal gland.
    • WHO Grade I.



  • Cytologically benign cells (uniform size of nuclei, regular nuclear membrane, light chromatin).
  • Pineocytomatous/neurocytic rosette = (irregular) rosette with a large meshwork of fibers (neuropil) at the centre.[5]
    • Similar to Homer-Wright rosette... but:
      1. Neuropil centre is larger in pineocytoma.
      2. Edge of neuropil meshwork irregular.


  • Rosette = circular/flower-like arrangement of cells.



  • Synaptophysin +ve.
  • Chromogranin A -ve.
  • NSE +ve (cytoplasmic + nuclear).[6]
  • GFAP -ve.
    • +ve in gliomas.
  • PLAP -ve.
    • Usu. +ve in germ cell tumours.
  • Ki-67.

Another ref.:[7]

Pineal parenchymal tumor of intermediate differentiation


  • 20% of all pineal tumors.
  • Affects all ages.
  • ICD-O: 9362/3
  • No WHO grade yet, clinical behaviour corresponds to grade II/III[8]



  • High cellularity.
  • Mild to moderate atypia.
  • Mitoses.
  • Usually no pinecytomatous rosettes.
  • High pleomorphism possible.


Papillary tumour of pineal region (PTPR)


  • Very rare neuoepithelial tumor of adults.
  • Proposed ICD-O: 9395/3
  • No WHO grade yet, clinical behaviour corresponds to grade II/III[10]


  • Well circumscribed.
  • Can be quite large (2-4cm).
  • Macroscopy mimics pineocytoma.



  • Papillary growth pattern.
  • Dense areas exhibit ependymal features.
    • Clear, vacuolated cytoplasm.
    • Rosettes.
  • Round to oval nuclei.
  • Mitoses (0-10/HPF).
  • Necroses.
  • Hyalinized vessels.


  • +ve for keratins (KL1, AE1/AE3, Cam5.2, CK18).
  • GFAP and Synaptophysin focally +ve.
  • S100+ve.
  • EMA mostly -ve.
  • NF and Kir 7.1-ve.

DDx: Ependymoma.




  • Rare.
  • Malignant.
  • Males > females.
  • Children & young adults.
  • Corresponds to WHO IV (ICD-O: 9362/3).
  • May be a manifestation of the DICER1 syndrome.[12]



  • Hypercellular.
  • Mitoses.
  • Nuclear atypia.
  • Homer-wright & Flexner-Winterstein rosettes
  • Fleurettes.


  • GFAP -ve/+ve.
  • NF+ve.
  • Synaptophysin+ve
  • MIB-1: high.



See also


  1. Gaillard F, Jones J (October 2010). "Masses of the pineal region: clinical presentation and radiographic features". Postgrad Med J 86 (1020): 597–607. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2009.087460. PMID 20971711.
  2. Smith AB, Rushing EJ, Smirniotopoulos JG (November 2010). "From the archives of the AFIP: lesions of the pineal region: radiologic-pathologic correlation". Radiographics 30 (7): 2001–20. doi:10.1148/rg.307105131. PMID 21057132.
  3. Pu, Y.; Mahankali, S.; Hou, J.; Li, J.; Lancaster, JL.; Gao, JH.; Appelbaum, DE.; Fox, PT. (Oct 2007). "High prevalence of pineal cysts in healthy adults demonstrated by high-resolution, noncontrast brain MR imaging.". AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 28 (9): 1706-9. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A0656. PMID 17885233.
  4. Mena, H.; Armonda, RA.; Ribas, JL.; Ondra, SL.; Rushing, EJ. (Oct 1997). "Nonneoplastic pineal cysts: a clinicopathologic study of twenty-one cases.". Ann Diagn Pathol 1 (1): 11-8. PMID 9869821.
  5. Wippold FJ, Perry A (March 2006). "Neuropathology for the neuroradiologist: rosettes and pseudorosettes". AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 27 (3): 488–92. PMID 16551982.
  6. URL: Accessed on: 9 December 2010.
  7. URL: Accessed on: 9 December 2010.
  8. Jouvet, A.; Saint-Pierre, G.; Fauchon, F.; Privat, K.; Bouffet, E.; Ruchoux, MM.; Chauveinc, L.; Fèvre-Montange, M. (Jan 2000). "Pineal parenchymal tumors: a correlation of histological features with prognosis in 66 cases.". Brain Pathol 10 (1): 49-60. PMID 10668895.
  9. Fèvre-Montange, M.; Szathmari, A.; Champier, J.; Mokhtari, K.; Chrétien, F.; Coulon, A.; Figarella-Branger, D.; Polivka, M. et al. (Jul 2008). "Pineocytoma and pineal parenchymal tumors of intermediate differentiation presenting cytologic pleomorphism: a multicenter study.". Brain Pathol 18 (3): 354-9. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3639.2008.00128.x. PMID 18371183.
  10. Fèvre-Montange, M.; Hasselblatt, M.; Figarella-Branger, D.; Chauveinc, L.; Champier, J.; Saint-Pierre, G.; Taillandier, L.; Coulon, A. et al. (Oct 2006). "Prognosis and histopathologic features in papillary tumors of the pineal region: a retrospective multicenter study of 31 cases.". J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 65 (10): 1004-11. doi:10.1097/01.jnen.0000240462.80263.13. PMID 17021405.
  11. Heim, S.; Beschorner, R.; Mittelbronn, M.; Keyvani, K.; Riemenschneider, MJ.; Vajtai, I.; Hartmann, C.; Acker, T. et al. (Jan 2014). "Increased mitotic and proliferative activity are associated with worse prognosis in papillary tumors of the pineal region.". Am J Surg Pathol 38 (1): 106-10. doi:10.1097/PAS.0b013e31829e492d. PMID 24121176.
  12. van Engelen, K.; Villani, A.; Wasserman, JD.; Aronoff, L.; Greer, MC.; Tijerin Bueno, M.; Gallinger, B.; Kim, RH. et al. (Jan 2018). "DICER1 syndrome: Approach to testing and management at a large pediatric tertiary care center.". Pediatr Blood Cancer 65 (1). doi:10.1002/pbc.26720. PMID 28960912.