Craniopharyngioma in adults and children: a study of 122 surgical cases

J Neurosurg. 2002 Jul;97(1):3-11. doi: 10.3171/jns.2002.97.1.0003.


Object: This work is devoted to a 25-year retrospective study of 122 cases of craniopharyngiomas in adults and children treated and followed by the same neurosurgeon (R.V.E.). In this homogeneous series, the aim was total microsurgical removal of the tumor, without postoperative radiotherapy.

Methods: The operation was performed via a frontopterional approach in 112 cases and a transsphenoidal approach in 10 cases. The tumor removal was considered total in 59%, subtotal in 29%, and partial in 12%. The surgical mortality rate was 2.5%. Even when tumor removal was not complete, radiotherapy was not systematically administered; it was reserved for cases of recurrence. The authors have studied clinical signs, operative characteristics, and ophthalmological, endocrinological, and functional outcomes, as well as recurrence risk and long-term patient survival. The mean follow-up period was 7 years. The functional results in these patients were excellent in 85%, good in 9%, fair in 5% (usually because of ophthalmological sequelae), and poor in 1%. Tumors recurred in 29 patients, but the salvage treatment, by operation or radiotherapy, was successful in 83%. The actuarial patient survival rate was 92% after 5 years and 85% after 10 years.

Conclusions: These results compared favorably with the data reported in the literature, suggesting that radical surgery of craniopharyngiomas allows good outcome in terms of survival, full recovery, and quality of life for both adults and children.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Craniopharyngioma / mortality
  • Craniopharyngioma / pathology
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Optic Chiasm / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sella Turcica / pathology
  • Third Ventricle / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity