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Background Information About Childhood Craniopharyngioma

Incidence and Presentation

Craniopharyngiomas are relatively rare pediatric tumors, accounting for about 6% of all intracranial tumors in children.[1,2,3] They are believed to be congenital in origin, arising from ectodermal remnants, Rathke cleft, or other embryonal epithelium in the sellar and/or parasellar area. No predisposing factors have been identified.

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Because craniopharyngiomas occur in the region of the pituitary gland, endocrine function and growth may be affected. Additionally, the close proximity of the tumor to the optic nerves and chiasm may result in vision problems. Some patients present with obstructive hydrocephalus due to tumor obstruction of the third ventricle. Extremely rarely, the tumor may predominate in the posterior fossa with presenting symptoms of headache, diplopia, ataxia, and hearing loss.[4]

Prognosis

Long-term survival for children with craniopharyngioma is generally very good. Regardless of the treatment modality, long-term survival is approximately 85% in children [2,3] with 5- and 10-year overall survival rates greater than 90%.[5,6,7]

References:

  1. Bunin GR, Surawicz TS, Witman PA, et al.: The descriptive epidemiology of craniopharyngioma. J Neurosurg 89 (4): 547-51, 1998.
  2. Karavitaki N, Wass JA: Craniopharyngiomas. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 37 (1): 173-93, ix-x, 2008.
  3. Garnett MR, Puget S, Grill J, et al.: Craniopharyngioma. Orphanet J Rare Dis 2: 18, 2007.
  4. Zhou L, Luo L, Xu J, et al.: Craniopharyngiomas in the posterior fossa: a rare subgroup, diagnosis, management and outcomes. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 80 (10): 1150-4, 2009.
  5. Muller HL: Childhood craniopharyngioma. Recent advances in diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Horm Res 69 (4): 193-202, 2008.
  6. Müller HL: Childhood craniopharyngioma--current concepts in diagnosis, therapy and follow-up. Nat Rev Endocrinol 6 (11): 609-18, 2010.
  7. Sanford RA, Muhlbauer MS: Craniopharyngioma in children. Neurol Clin 9 (2): 453-65, 1991.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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