Mission impossible: chemotherapy in the intensive care for pineal region germ cell tumor


Pineal region tumors are rare and a heterogenous group of primary central nervous system tumors which are primarily classified as germ cell tumors and non-germ cell tumors. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy as the primary treatment modalities have been reported to result in good outcomes. We discuss the case of a young girl who presented to our emergency department in an unconscious state and had a large lesion in the posterior third ventricular region, but without any associated hydrocephalus which could explain her stuporous state. Given the rapid decline in her sensorium, we were faced with the difficult choice between surgical decompression of the tumor and a trial of rescue chemotherapy following histopathological confirmation through biopsy. She underwent an open biopsy followed by chemotherapy in a neurosurgical intensive care unit despite her poor Karnofsky performance score. She improved after chemotherapy and her tumor decreased in size significantly over time. We highlight the role of chemotherapy administered in the neurosurgical ICU to an unconscious patient with a large chemoresponsive tumor leading to rapid shrinkage of the lesion and gradual improvement in the sensorium of the patient.

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Correspondence to Shashwat Mishra.

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Garg, K., Mishra, S., Rafiq, R. et al. Mission impossible: chemotherapy in the intensive care for pineal region germ cell tumor. Childs Nerv Syst (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00381-020-05031-5

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  • Germinoma
  • Pineal
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Outcome