International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics

Long-term outcomes and complications in patients with craniopharyngioma: the British Columbia Cancer Agency experience.

PMID 24661653


We report long-term outcomes and complications of craniopharyngioma patients referred to our institution. Between 1971 and 2010, 123 consecutive patients received primary treatment for craniopharyngioma in British Columbia and were referred to our institution. The median age was 30 years (range, 2-80 years). Thirty-nine percent of patients were treated primarily with subtotal resection (STR) and radiation therapy (RT), 28% with STR alone, 15% with gross total resection, 11% with cyst drainage (CD) alone, 5% with CD+RT, and 2% with RT alone. Eight percent of patients received intracystic bleomycin (ICB) therapy. Median follow-up was 8.9 years, and study endpoints were reported at 10 years. Ten-year Kaplan-Meier progression-free survival (PFS) was 46%. Patients treated with STR+RT or CD+RT had the highest PFS (82% and 83%, respectively). There were no significant differences between PFS after adjuvant versus salvage RT (84% vs 74%, respectively; P=.6). Disease-specific survival (DSS) was 88%, and overall survival (OS) was 80%. Primary treatment modality did not affect DSS or OS, while older age was a negative prognostic factor for OS but not DSS. Kaplan-Meier rates for visual deterioration, anterior pituitary hormone deficiency, diabetes insipidus, seizure disorder, and cerebrovascular events (CVE) due to treatment, not tumor progression, were 27%, 76%, 45%, 16%, and 11%, respectively. The CVE rate was 29% in patients who received ICB compared to 10% in those who did not (P=.07). We report favorable PFS in patients with craniopharyngioma, especially in those who received RT after surgery. DSS and OS rates were excellent regardless of primary treatment modality. We observed a high incidence of hypopituitarism, visual deterioration, and seizure disorder. Eleven percent of patients experienced CVEs after treatment. There was a suggestion of increased CVE risk in patients treated with ICB.