Pineoblastoma Treatment- Cancer/Oncology

What is Pineoblastoma?

Pineoblastoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumour. It is a type of primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PNET) and mainly affects children but can also occur in adults.  It develops in the pineal gland which is located in the brain. The pineal gland regulates body’s sleep patterns by producing the hormone melatonin.

What is the treatment of Pineoblastoma?

Standard treatment plan includes a surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. This is followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. A medical oncologist (doctor who treats tumours with chemotherapeutic drugs) will propose the line of treatment for the treatment of pancreatic islet cell tumour. A surgical oncologist (doctor who has specialized in operating on tumours) will perform surgery if required.

Surgery: Surgery can be done either to remove the fluid build-up in the brain or to remove the pineoblastoma. Grown pineoblastoma can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and thus can lead to a build-up of fluid in brain.  This build-up of fluid puts pressure on the brain. Thus a surgery is required to remove this fluid. Surgery is also done to remove the pineoblastoma.  However, sometimes it is not possible to remove the entire tumour as it may be deep within the brain. Thus in order to target the remaining cells, patients with this type of cases are given additional treatments after surgery.

Radiation therapy: This procedure requires use of high-energy beams; such as X-rays or protons in order to kill cancer cells. Patient lies on a table and the machine moves around him/her to direct beams to the brain and spinal cord along with additional radiation to the tumour. As the tumour cells can spread to other areas of the central nervous system, radiation therapy for the entire brain and spinal cord is recommended for children older than 3 years.

Chemotherapy:  It may be recommended after surgery or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill cancerous cells. In certain cases, it may be used at the same time as radiation therapy. To remove large tumours easily, chemotherapy may be used to shrink larger tumours before the surgery.

Radiosurgery: During this procedure, for killing the tumour cells, stereotactic radiosurgery focuses multiple beams of radiation on specific points. Radiosurgery may be used to treat reoccurring pineoblastoma.

What to expect after the treatment?

After treatment such as chemotherapy, patient may have symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, hair loss, infection etc. Thus, treatments are generally spaced apart to give the body time to recover.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.