Neurosurg Rev. DOI 10.1007/s10143-009-0220-6
Although many authors have described treatment strategies for craniopharyngiomas, the optimal treatment of craniopharyngiomas remains controversial. This study aimed to define an adequate surgical strategy for craniopharyngiomas by reviewing the long-term functional performance of patients treated by current and past treatment modalities. Fifty-five patients with longer than
5 years of follow-up were selected for the present long-term study. The duration of follow-up ranged from 5.5 to 33 years (median, 14.8 years). There were 28 adult patients (14 males; median age, 44.4 years) and 27 children younger than 16 years of age (15 males; median age, 8.1 years). The patients were divided into the following treatment groups: single surgery (group A; n=14), multiple surgeries (group B; n=8), surgery or surgeries followed by radiotherapy (group C; n=23), surgery or surgeries (partial removal) followed by radiotherapy + additional treatments (multiple surgeries and/or re-irradiation; group D; n=10). In addition to the routine assessments of neurological, endocrine, and visual outcomes, the level of daily functioning was analyzed using the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS). Statistical analysis of relationship between KPS score and treatment mode demonstrated that group D had a significantly lower KPS score (F=5.82, p=0.0017). Furthermore, mortality, cognitive function, and visual function were significantly better in groups A, B, and C than in group D. Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that cognitive dysfunction, visual disturbance, and treatment mode were independent covariates that significantly affected postoperative
KPS score. Adequate primary treatment for craniopharyngiomas is important to avoid subsequent multiple treatments. Craniopharyngiomas should be removed surgically as far as possible but without further deteriorating cognitive and visual functions, either as total resection or subtotal resection with a small remnant that is controllable by radiation therapy.