Prognostic Factors and Treatment Impact on Overall Survival in Adult Craniopharyngioma

World Neurosurg. 2023 May:173:e132-e139. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2023.02.020. Epub 2023 Feb 10.


Objective: To examine the demographics, tumor characteristics, treatments, and clinical outcomes of a large adult craniopharyngioma population.

Methods: The 2004-2018 National Cancer Database was queried to investigate adult patients with craniopharyngioma. Univariable and multivariable Cox hazard ratio analysis was conducted to analyze the overall survival (OS) impact of demographic and clinical variables.

Results: A total of 666 adult patients with craniopharyngioma were identified with a mean age of 51 years (standard deviation 16 years). On multivariable analysis, independent of demographic and clinical variables, increased age, uninsured status, Medicaid, Medicare, Charlson-Deyo Comorbidity Index of 2, and tumor size greater than 40 mm were independently associated with worse OS. There was no significant difference in survival between histologic subtypes. Gross total resection (GTR) (hazard ratio [HR] 0.602, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.384-0.942, P = 0.026) and subtotal resection (STR) with adjuvant radiotherapy (HR 0.316, 95% CI 0.140-0.710, P = 0.005) were independently associated with improved OS. GTR with radiotherapy trended towards improved OS (HR 0.601, 95% CI 0.334-1.083, P =0.090), but STR alone and radiotherapy alone demonstrated no significant difference in survival compared with no treatment on multivariable analysis. Kaplan-Meier survival models demonstrated improved survival with GTR, GTR + radiation therapy, and STR + radiation therapy. Patients undergoing endoscopic resection had significantly lower GTR rates and greater rates of adjuvant radiotherapy compared with open approaches but no difference in OS.

Conclusion: Adult patients with craniopharyngioma who underwent GTR or STR with adjuvant radiotherapy had significantly improved overall survival. Endoscopic approaches had lower rates of GTR but no difference in OS.

Keywords: Adjuvant Therapy; Craniopharyngioma; Endoscopic Endonasal; GTR; NCDB; Overall Survival; Radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Craniopharyngioma* / pathology
  • Craniopharyngioma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Medicare
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology