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J Child Neurol. 2013 Dec;28(12):1622-5. doi: 10.1177/0883073812464817. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Headaches in children with craniopharyngioma.

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  • 11Division of Neurology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.


Craniopharyngioma frequently involves intracranial pain-sensitive structures. We retrospectively studied prevalence, associated risk factors, and outcome of headaches in children with craniopharyngioma. Fisher exact test and multivariate analysis were used to study association of study variables. Of the 51 craniopharyngioma patients treated at our institution from January 1994 to December 2005, 40 (78%) reported headaches (35 [68%] before tumor diagnosis). Migraine headaches were diagnosed in 32 (63%) and tension-type headaches in 11 patients (22%). The median follow-up period was 2.7 years. At the last follow-up, 38 (75%) were headache free. Presence of hydrocephalus, distortion of circle of Willis, and large tumor volume were associated with headache, and the last 2 variables were also associated with more severe and frequent headaches. Radiation treatment and insertion of Ommaya reservoir were associated with reduced headache frequency. In conclusion, headaches are common in patients with craniopharyngioma and are likely related to tumor size and volume. In most patients, headaches improve with successful tumor treatment.


brain tumor; craniopharyngioma; headache; hydrocephalus; migraine

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