The influence of tumor topography on the surgical outcome of craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 139:1247–1257, 2023

Various topographical classifications for craniopharyngioma have been proposed based on their relationship with optic chiasm and the third ventricular floor. There is a paucity of literature evaluating the surgical outcome based on tumor topography. This study aims to compare the surgical outcomes of retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas (RCPs) and nonretrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas (non-RCPs).

METHODS This retrospective study includes newly diagnosed patients with craniopharyngioma who underwent surgery between January 2000 and December 2015. Clinical features, the extent of resection (EOR), surgical outcomes, tumor recurrence, and progression-free survival (PFS) of craniopharyngiomas were compared with respect to their relationship to the optic chiasm and third ventricular floor.

RESULTS The authors identified RCPs in 104 and non-RCPs in 33 patients. RCPs were significantly larger and more associated with hydrocephalus than were non-RCPs (p < 0.001) at the time of diagnosis. Puget grade 2 hypothalamic involvement was more frequent with RCPs. EOR and PFS following either subtotal resection (p = 0.07) or gross-total resection (p = 0.7) were comparable between RCPs and non-RCPs. There was no significant difference in the postoperative visual outcome. Resection of RCPs resulted in higher postoperative hypopituitarism (64% vs 42%, p = 0.01) and hypothalamic dysfunction (18% vs 3%, p = 0.02). Location of the tumor, either retrochiasmatic (HR 0.5; 95% CI 0.14–2.2; p = 0.4) or nonretrochiasmatic (HR 1.3; 95% CI 0.3–5.5; p = 0.6), did not show association with recurrence. RCPs with extraand intraventricular components (type 3b) had a higher incidence of postoperative hypothalamic morbidities (p = 0.01) and tumor recurrence (36% vs 19%; p = 0.05) during follow-up than the extraventricular (type 3a) RCP. Between prechiasmatic and infrachiasmatic/intrasellar craniopharyngiomas, EOR (p = 0.7), postoperative diabetes insipidus (p = 0.4), endocrinological outcome (p = 0.7), and recurrence (p = 0.1) were comparable. The patients with complex multicompartmental tumors had a lower rate of gross-total resection (25%, p = 0.02) and a higher incidence of tumor recurrence (75%, p = 0.004) than the rest.

CONCLUSIONS The tumor topography can influence the postoperative outcome. RCPs can be associated with a higher incidence of hypopituitarism and hypothalamic morbidities postoperatively. The influence of topography on EOR and tumor recurrence is controversial. However, this study did not find a significant difference in EOR and tumor recurrence between RCPs and non-RCPs. PFS and overall mortality are also comparable.