What is craniopharyngioma?

Craniopharyngioma is a relatively rare, slow-growing, usually benign brain tumour.


How common is it and at what age does it occur?

The incidence of craniopharyngioma is 0.13-2 per 100,000 people per year. The age peak is biphasic: between 5-14 and 50-74 years.


What are the symptoms and signs of craniopharyngioma?

The most common manifestations of these tumours are:

  • initially asymptomatic
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting
  • visual disturbances- loss of vision
  • fatigue
  • slow growth in children and delayed puberty
  • obesity
  • hypogonadism (menstrual disorders in women, erectile dysfunction in men)
  • polyuria, polydipsia

How is craniopharyngioma diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by physical examination, history, MRI, biopsy and specialised endocrine tests to detect possible hormone deficiencies.


How is craniopharyngioma treated?

The treatment of craniopharyngiomas depends on their size, how fast they grow, their mass effect, age and comorbidities, and the patient’s preference. It usually involves a combination of:

  • surgical excision and
  • radiotherapy.

However, both their treatment and their diagnosis are determined by a multidisciplinary team which includes an endocrinologist, neurosurgeon, radiologist, oncologist, pathologist and is carried out in a specialized centre.