gms | German Medical Science

63rd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society (JNS)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

13 - 16 June 2012, Leipzig

Cystic craniopharyngiomas: Microsurgical or stereotactic treatment?

Meeting Abstract

  • W. Rachinger - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • M. Kunz - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • S. Eigenbrod - Zentrum für Neuropathologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • J. Lutz - Neuroradiologische Klinik, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • J.C. Tonn - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • F.W. Kreth - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 63. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (JNS). Leipzig, 13.-16.06.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocDO.14.01

doi: 10.3205/12dgnc123, urn:nbn:de:0183-12dgnc1232

Published: June 4, 2012

© 2012 Rachinger et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: The value of microsurgical and stereotactic treatment particularly in predominantly cystic craniopharyngiomas is poorly defined. We present the outcome data in terms of functional results and progression free survival (PFS) after individualized treatment strategies: Solid tumors were considered eligible for open tumor resection, whereas predominantly cystic lesions were treated by stereotactic catheter placement for an internal drainage.

Methods: Patients with a craniopharyngioma treated between 2001 and 2010 either by open tumor resection or stereotactic drainage were analyzed retrospectively. Reference point of the study was the date of surgical treatment. The study was closed on December 2010. PFS was estimated with the Kaplan Meier method; prognostic factors were obtained from multivariate regression models including all relevant patient-, radiological-, and functional-related data. Adjuvant radiation therapy was used as second line treatment in case of unresectable recurrences.

Results: Sixty-eight consecutively treated patients (36 male, 32 female) were included. Median age was 53 years with seven patients under 18 yrs (range: 1–18 yrs). Patients of the microsurgical (N = 44) and stereotactic group (N = 24) did not differ in terms of age, gender, tumor size, functional deficits, and duration of symptoms. Complete tumor resection and complete cyst drainage was obtained in 23/44 and 21/24 patients, respectively. Median PFS after surgical and stereotactic treatment was 51 months and 46 months, respectively. The difference was statistically not significant (p = 0.1). Endocrinological outcome was significantly better after stereotactic treatment (p = 0.004). The overall transient complication rate was 4.4% being lower in the stereotactic group (8.1% vs. 0%, p < 0.05). However, one patient of the stereotactic group experienced a space occupying bleeding leading to permanent morbidity (overall permanent morbidity rate: 1.5%). Nine patients (stereotactic group: N = 4) received additional radiation therapy after tumor recurrence.

Conclusions: Stereotactic treatment of predominantly cystic craniopharyngiomas is safe and effective. This hypothesis requires further investigation in the framework of a prospective randomized study.