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Cancer Health Center

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Childhood Craniopharyngioma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Late Effects in Patients Treated for Childhood Craniopharyngioma

Quality-of-life issues are important in this group of patients and are difficult to generalize due to various treatment modalities. Whereas intelligence quotient is usually maintained, behavioral issues and memory deficits attributed to the frontal lobe and hypothalamus are common.[1] Patients with hypothalamic involvement showed impairment in memory and executive functioning.[2] Other common problems include visual loss, obesity (which can be life threatening),[3] and the almost universal need for life-long endocrine replacement with multiple pituitary hormones.[4,5,6][Level of evidence: 3iiiC] Vasculopathies and secondary tumors may also result from local irradiation.[7] A recent report indicated that adults on long-term growth hormone replacement secondary to childhood craniopharyngioma involving the hypothalamus were at increased cardiovascular risk.[8]

Refer to the PDQ summary on Late Effects of Treatment for Childhood Cancer for specific information about the incidence, type, and monitoring of late effects in childhood and adolescent cancer survivors.

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Many of the medical and scientific terms used in this summary are found in the NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms. When a linked term is clicked, the definition will appear in a separate window. Creating evidence-based summaries on cancer genetics is challenging because the rapid evolution of new information often results in evidence that is incomplete or of limited quality. In addition, established methods for evaluating the quality of the evidence are available for some, but not all, aspects of...

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  1. Winkfield KM, Tsai HK, Yao X, et al.: Long-term clinical outcomes following treatment of childhood craniopharyngioma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 56 (7): 1120-6, 2011.
  2. Özyurt J, Thiel CM, Lorenzen A, et al.: Neuropsychological outcome in patients with childhood craniopharyngioma and hypothalamic involvement. J Pediatr 164 (4): 876-881.e4, 2014.
  3. Elowe-Gruau E, Beltrand J, Brauner R, et al.: Childhood craniopharyngioma: hypothalamus-sparing surgery decreases the risk of obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 98 (6): 2376-82, 2013.
  4. Vinchon M, Weill J, Delestret I, et al.: Craniopharyngioma and hypothalamic obesity in children. Childs Nerv Syst 25 (3): 347-52, 2009.
  5. Dolson EP, Conklin HM, Li C, et al.: Predicting behavioral problems in craniopharyngioma survivors after conformal radiation therapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer 52 (7): 860-4, 2009.
  6. Kawamata T, Amano K, Aihara Y, et al.: Optimal treatment strategy for craniopharyngiomas based on long-term functional outcomes of recent and past treatment modalities. Neurosurg Rev 33 (1): 71-81, 2010.
  7. Kiehna EN, Merchant TE: Radiation therapy for pediatric craniopharyngioma. Neurosurg Focus 28 (4): E10, 2010.
  8. Holmer H, Ekman B, Björk J, et al.: Hypothalamic involvement predicts cardiovascular risk in adults with childhood onset craniopharyngioma on long-term GH therapy. Eur J Endocrinol 161 (5): 671-9, 2009.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: 8/, 015
    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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