Endocrine and neurologic outcome in childhood craniopharyngioma: Review of effect of treatment in 42 patients

J Pediatr. 1980 Nov;97(5):728-35. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(80)80254-x.


Forty-two cases of craniopharyngioma in children reviewed. Only 9.5% had sought medical attention because of symptoms suggesting hormonal deficit; however, growth retardation was present in 53% and growth hormone deficiency was documented in 72% before treatment. Multiple hypothalamic-pituitary hormone deficiencies were present in all patients after treatment. Eleven percent had normal skull radiographs at presentation; pneumonencephalograms and computed tomographic brain scans were abnormal on every occasion on which they were performed. Recurrence and mortality rates as well as the neurologic outcome of survivors were similar in children treated by radical excision and those treated by limited excision plus radiotherapy. The neurologic prognosis was poorest in those children who had limited excision or drainage without radiotherapy. Additional hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction following treatment was less common in children who had limited excision plus radiotherapy than in children who had either limited excision or attempted total removal. Unless gross total tumor excision can be readily achieved, limited excision by transsphenoidal microsurgery or craniotomy plus radiotherapy appears to be the treatment of choice for craniopharyngioma in childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniopharyngioma / diagnosis
  • Craniopharyngioma / radiotherapy
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery*
  • Female
  • Growth
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / deficiency
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Pituitary Hormones / deficiency
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Prognosis


  • Hypothalamic Hormones
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Growth Hormone