Learn About Craniopharyngioma

What is the definition of Craniopharyngioma?

A craniopharyngioma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops at the base of the brain near the pituitary gland.

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What are the causes of Craniopharyngioma?

The exact cause of the tumor is unknown.

This tumor most commonly affects children between 5 to 10 years of age. Adults can sometimes be affected. Boys and girls are equally likely to develop this tumor.

What are the symptoms of Craniopharyngioma?

Craniopharyngioma causes symptoms by:

  • Increasing pressure on the brain, usually from hydrocephalus
  • Disrupting hormone production by the pituitary gland
  • Pressure or damage to the optic nerve

Increased pressure on the brain can cause:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (especially in the morning)

Damage to the pituitary gland causes hormone imbalances that can lead to excessive thirst and urination, and slow growth.

When the optic nerve is damaged by the tumor, vision problems develop. These defects are often permanent. They may get worse after surgery to remove the tumor.

Behavioral and learning problems may be present.

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What are the current treatments for Craniopharyngioma?

The goal of the treatment is to relieve symptoms. Usually, surgery has been the main treatment for craniopharyngioma. However, radiation treatment instead of surgery or along with a smaller surgery may be the best choice for some people.

In tumors that cannot be removed completely with surgery alone, radiation therapy is used. If the tumor has a classic appearance on CT scan, a biopsy may not be needed if treatment with radiation alone is planned.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is performed at some medical centers.

This tumor is best treated at a center with experience in treating craniopharyngiomas.

Who are the top Craniopharyngioma Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Medical Campus University Of Oldenburg

Oldenburg, NI, DE 

Hermann Muller is in Oldenburg, Germany. Muller is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Craniopharyngioma. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Craniopharyngioma, Hypothalamic Tumor, Pituitary Tumor, and Diencephalic Syndrome.

Highly rated in
Radiation Oncology

St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital-Radiation Oncology

Memphis, TN 

Thomas Merchant is a Radiation Oncologist in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Merchant is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Craniopharyngioma. He is also highly rated in 34 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Craniopharyngioma, Brain Tumor, Ependymoma, and Glioma. He is licensed to treat patients in Tennessee. Dr. Merchant is currently accepting new patients.

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Highly rated in

Burdenko Neurosurgical Institute

Moscow, MOW, RU 

Pavel Kalinin is in Moscow, Russian Federation. Kalinin is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Craniopharyngioma. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pituitary Tumor, Hypothalamic Tumor, Craniopharyngioma, and Brain Tumor.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Craniopharyngioma?

In general, the outlook is good. There is an 80% to 90% chance of a cure if the tumor can be completely removed with surgery or treated with high doses of radiation. If the tumor returns, it will most often come back within the first 2 years after surgery.

Outlook depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether the tumor can be completely removed
  • Which nervous system problems and hormonal imbalances the tumor and treatment cause

Most of the problems with hormones and vision do not improve with treatment. Sometimes, the treatment may even make them worse.

What are the possible complications of Craniopharyngioma?

There may be long-term hormone, vision, and nervous system problems after craniopharyngioma is treated.

When the tumor is not completely removed, the condition may return.

When should I contact a medical professional for Craniopharyngioma?

Call your provider for the following symptoms:

  • Headache, nausea, vomiting, or balance problems (signs of increased pressure on the brain)
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Poor growth in a child
  • Vision changes
Endocrine glands
What are the latest Craniopharyngioma Clinical Trials?
Evaluation of the SickKids Team Obesity Management Program (STOMP)
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Memantine for Prevention of Cognitive Late Effects in Pediatric Patients Receiving Cranial Radiation Therapy for Localized Brain Tumors: A Pilot Study
What are the Latest Advances for Craniopharyngioma?
Hepatopulmonary syndrome: a rare manifestation of cirrhosis in patient with diencephalic obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease after surgery for craniopharyngioma.
Concurrent central diabetes insipidus and cerebral salt wasting disease in a post-operative case of craniopharyngioma: a case report.
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Proton Therapy for Adult Craniopharyngioma.
What are our references for Craniopharyngioma?

Styne DM. Physiology and disorders of puberty. In: Melmed S, Auchus RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 26.

Suh JH, Chao ST, Murphy ES, Recinos PF. Pituitary tumors and craniopharyngiomas. In: Tepper JE, Foote RL, Michalski JM, eds. Gunderson & Tepper's Clinical Radiation Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 34.

Zaky W, Ater JL, Khatua S. Brain tumors in childhood. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 524.