Intracranial germinomas: correlation of imaging findings with tumor response to radiation therapy

W K Moon, K H Chang, M H Han, I O Kim
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 1999, 172 (3): 713-6

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to correlate imaging characteristics of intracranial germinomas with response to radiation therapy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using tumor size at the completion of irradiation, we classified 23 patients with histologically proven germinomas in the pineal gland (n = 6), the suprasellar region (n = 7), and the basal ganglia (n = 10) into two groups: excellent response group (n = 14) and good response group (n = 9). Excellent response was defined as complete resolution or residual tumor less than 1.0 cm in diameter, and good response was defined as residual tumor of 1.0-3.0 cm in diameter. CT (n = 53) and MR (n = 32) images obtained before, during, and after radiation therapy were retrospectively analyzed with particular attention to the location, size, presence of cystic change, and CSF seeding of the tumors.

RESULTS: In all 23 patients, the tumors decreased 85-100% in size at the completion of irradiation with 40-56 Gy. A significant factor in the different responses to irradiation between patients in the excellent and good response groups was cystic change of the tumor. Tumors with cystic components responded more slowly and had larger residual lesions than did tumors without cystic components (p < .01). In eight of 12 cystic tumors, the cystic portion of the tumor responded more slowly than did the solid portion and remained visible on imaging 6-12 months after irradiation. We found no significant differences between the two groups in location, size, and CSF seeding of tumors. In 12 patients with residual lesions at the completion of irradiation, the tumors proceeded to resolve after completion of treatment.

CONCLUSION: In our study, tumor response to radiation therapy correlated negatively with the presence of a cystic region.

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