CNS tumor
Pineal cyst

Topic Completed: 1 February 2012

Revised: 31 December 2018, last major update February 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: "Pineal cyst"

Eman Abdelzaher, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2019: 591
Page views in 2020 to date: 287
Cite this page: Abdelzaher E. Pineal cyst. website. Accessed August 12th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Glial cyst within the pineal gland
  • Present in 2 - 3% of adults
  • May resemble a cystic tumor
  • Usually incidental finding, affect all age groups
  • Minority of cases, usually in young adults, are large enough to compress aqueduct and cause symptoms
  • Fine needle aspiration may provide rapid diagnosis (Cancer 2005;105:80)
Radiology description
  • Midline, well circumscribed, 1 - 3 cm
Case reports
Gross description
  • Smooth external surface and inner lining
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Pineal cyst

Microscopic (histologic) description
Three layered cyst:
  • Inner lining is glial tissue which is hypocellular, highly fibrillated with many Rosenthal fibers; hemosiderin is common
  • Glial layer is surrounded by compressed, often calcified, pineal parenchyma
  • Outer layer is leptomeningeal connective tissue (Ann Diagn Path 1997;1:11)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Pineal gland cyst adjacent to midbrain

Pineal tissue (left) and glial tissue (right)


Cyst is separated from partially calcified normal pineal tissue by thick layer of gliofibrillary tissue with Rosenthal fibers

Cytology description
  • Small, uniform polygonal cells
Back to top