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Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Apr;28(4):E5. doi: 10.3171/2010.1.FOCUS09307.

Craniopharyngioma: a comparison of tumor control with various treatment strategies.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



Craniopharyngiomas have a propensity to recur after resection, potentially causing death through their aggressive local behavior in their critical site of origin. Recent data suggest that subtotal resection (STR) followed by adjuvant radiotherapy (XRT) may be an appealing substitute for gross-total resection (GTR), providing similar rates of tumor control without the morbidity associated with aggressive resection. Here, the authors summarize the published literature regarding rates of tumor control with various treatment modalities for craniopharyngiomas.


The authors performed a comprehensive search of the English language literature to identify studies publishing outcome data on patients undergoing surgery for craniopharyngioma. Rates of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were determined through Kaplan-Meier analysis.


There were 442 patients who underwent tumor resection. Among these patients, GTR was achieved in 256 cases (58%), STR in 101 cases (23%), and STR+XRT in 85 cases (19%). The 2- and 5-year PFS rates for the GTR group versus the STR+XRT group were 88 versus 91%, and 67 versus 69%, respectively. The 5- and 10-year OS rates for the GTR group versus the STR+XRT group were 98 versus 99%, and 98 versus 95%, respectively. There was no significant difference in PFS (log-rank test) or OS with GTR (log-rank test).


Given the relative rarity of craniopharyngioma, this study provides estimates of outcome for a variety of treatment combinations, as not all treatments are an option for all patients with these tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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