Craniopharyngiomas: intratumoral chemotherapy with interferon-α: a multicenter preliminary study with 60 cases

Neurosurg Focus 28 (4):E12, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.1.FOCUS09310)

The authors assessed the efficacy of intratumoral interferon-α (IFNα)–based chemotherapy in pediatric patients with cystic craniopharyngiomas.

Methods. In a prospective multicenter study of 60 pediatric patients, the authors assessed the efficacy of intratumoral INFα2A-based chemotherapy. The study was conducted between 2000 and 2009 at 3 locations: the Medical School of the Federal University of São Paulo, Catholic University of Rome, and the Neurosurgery Institute of Santiago, Chile. The assessment included clinical and radiological control examinations, side effects observed, and total dose used.

Results. Sixty cases of cystic craniopharyngioma were analyzed. The cohort consisted of 35 male and 25 female children (mean age 11 years). Clinical and radiological improvement was achieved in 76% of the cases. New endocrinological deficits were observed in 13% of the cases. In approximately 30% of the patients, the evolution included some light side effects, the most common being headache (33%) and eyelid edema (28%). The number of cycles varied from 1 to 9 (mean 5 cycles), and the total dose applied per cycle was 36,000,000 IU.

Conclusions. This has been the largest documented series of intratumoral chemotherapy using INFα for the control of cystic craniopharyngiomas. The treatment has proved efficacious; there was no mortality, and morbidity rates were low.