The role of radiosurgery in the treatment of craniopharyngiomas

Neurosurg Focus 28 (4):E11, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.2.FOCUS09311)

The treatment of craniopharyngiomas is composed of an intricate balance of multiple modalities. Resection and radiotherapy have been combined to synergistically control tumor growth while preventing undue harm to crucial neurovascular structures. Although a craniopharyngioma is a benign lesion pathologically, it may induce severe neurological injury due to its location and rate of growth. More recently, the advent of targeted, fractionated radiotherapy has allowed for more aggressive tumor control while reducing the necessity for large resections. Initial studies have demonstrated significant tumor control in patients who are treated with resection combined with radiation therapy, versus surgery alone, with a lower rate of treatment-associated neurological deficits. In this review, a detailed account of the current studies evaluating the role of stereotactic radiosurgery in the management of craniopharyngiomas is presented. The authors also provide a short account of their experience to aid in defining the role of CyberKnife radiosurgery.