Surgery with or without radiation therapy in the management of craniopharyngiomas in children and young adults

Diana C.H. Stripp, Amit Maity, Anna J. Janss, Jean B. Belasco, Zelig A. Tochner, Joel W. Goldwein, Thomas Moshang, Lucy B. Rorke, Peter C. Phillips, Leslie N. Sutton, Hui Kuo G. Shu

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Purpose: The optimal management of craniopharyngiomas remains controversial, especially in children and young adults. This study reports a single institution's experience with such patients. Methods and Materials: Between 1974 and 2001, 76 patients were treated for craniopharyngioma at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Of these, 75 patients (97%) were evaluable with long-term follow-up. Although all patients underwent attempted gross total resection, 27 had documentation of less than total resection with 18 of these patients receiving immediate postoperative radiotherapy (RT). An additional 22 patients received RT at HUP after failing surgery alone. Results: Median follow-up for all patients was 7.6 years. The 10-year actuarial overall survival, relapse-free survival, and local control (LC) rates for all patients were 85%, 48%, and 53%, respectively. When comparing the 57 patients treated with surgery alone to the 18 treated with subtotal resection (STR) followed by RT, a significant difference in LC rates at 10 years (42% vs. 84%, respectively; p = 0.004) was noted. However, no statistically significant difference in overall survival was found between the two groups, because RT was highly effective as salvage therapy. Twenty-two patients at HUP treated with RT after relapse had a 10-year ultimate LC rate comparable to that of patients who received RT immediately after STR. Conclusion: RT given either immediately after STR or at relapse is effective in controlling craniopharyngiomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-720
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Radiation therapy


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