Long-term outcomes for surgically resected craniopharyngiomas

John M. Duff, Fredric B. Meyer, Duane M. Ilstrup, Edward R. Laws, Cathy D. Schleck, Bernd W. Scheithauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: This retrospective study critically analyzed the long-term functional outcomes and tumor recurrence rates for surgically treated craniopharyngiomas. METHODS: This study used an outcome classification system that included functioning vision, independent versus dependent living, Karnofsky Performance Scale scores, academic levels, work status, and psychological status. Tumor recurrence rates were analyzed with respect to the extent of surgical resection and adjunctive radiotherapy. RESULTS: For 121 patients, with a mean follow-up period of 10 years, the overall 'good outcome' rate was 60.3%. Factors associated with poor outcomes included lethargy at presentation, visual deterioration, papilledema, tumor calcification, hydrocephalus, and tumor adhesiveness at surgery. Gross total resection was associated with good outcomes (P = 0.017) and decreased risk of recurrence (P = 0.024). Subtotal resection was associated with increased risk of tumor recurrence (P = 0.0235). The highest risk of recurrence was in the subtotal resection/no radiation group (P = 0.0001). There were no differences in outcomes or recurrence rates between pediatric and adult patients. There were also no differences in outcomes or recurrence rates between papillary and adamantinous tumors. Approximately one-third of patients exhibited morbid obesity, and permanent diabetes insipidus was observed for 25 patients. CONCLUSION: A rigorous evaluation of outcomes for tumors such as craniopharyngiomas must consider not only the extent of resection, as judged by postoperative imaging, but also the long-term physical, intellectual, and psychological functioning of the patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-305
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Outcome
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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