MRI-based assessment of the pineal gland in a large population of children aged 0–5 years and comparison with pineoblastoma: part I, the solid gland

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION Differentiation between normal solid (non-cystic) pineal glands and pineal pathologies on brain MRI is difficult. The aim of this study was to assess the size of the solid pineal gland in children (0-5 years) and compare the findings with published pineoblastoma cases. METHODS We retrospectively analyzed the size (width, height, planimetric area) of solid pineal glands in 184 non-retinoblastoma patients (73 female, 111 male) aged 0-5 years on MRI. The effect of age and gender on gland size was evaluated. Linear regression analysis was performed to analyze the relation between size and age. Ninety-nine percent prediction intervals around the mean were added to construct a normal size range per age, with the upper bound of the predictive interval as the parameter of interest as a cutoff for normalcy. RESULTS There was no significant interaction of gender and age for all the three pineal gland parameters (width, height, and area). Linear regression analysis gave 99 % upper prediction bounds of 7.9, 4.8, and 25.4 mm(2), respectively, for width, height, and area. The slopes (size increase per month) of each parameter were 0.046, 0.023, and 0.202, respectively. Ninety-three percent (95 % CI 66-100 %) of asymptomatic solid pineoblastomas were larger in size than the 99 % upper bound. CONCLUSION This study establishes norms for solid pineal gland size in non-retinoblastoma children aged 0-5 years. Knowledge of the size of the normal pineal gland is helpful for detection of pineal gland abnormalities, particularly pineoblastoma.

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Galluzzi, P., de Jong, M. C., Sirin, S., Maeder, P., Piu, P., Cerase, A., … Goericke, S. L. (2016). MRI-based assessment of the pineal gland in a large population of children aged 0–5 years and comparison with pineoblastoma: part I, the solid gland. Neuroradiology, 58(7), 705–712. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00234-016-1684-z

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