Gamma Knife surgery for craniopharyngioma: report on a 20-year experience

Cheng Chia Lee, Huai Che Yang, Ching Jen Chen, Yi Chieh Hung, Hsiu Mei Wu, Cheng Ying Shiau, Wan Yuo Guo, David H.ung Chi Pan, Wen Yuh Chung, Kang Du Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECT: Although craniopharyngiomas are benign intracranial tumors, their high recurrence rates and intimate associations with surrounding neurovascular structures make gross tumor resection challenging. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been introduced as a valuable adjuvant therapy for recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas. However, studies with large patient populations documenting long-term survival and progression-free survival rates are rare in the literature. The current study aims to report the long-term radiosurgical results and to define the prognostic factors in a large cohort of patients with a craniopharyngioma.

METHODS: A total of 137 consecutive patients who underwent 162 sessions of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) treatments at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital between 1993 and 2012 were analyzed. The patients' median age was 30.1 years (range 1.5-84.9 years), and the median tumor volume was 5.5 ml (range 0.2-28.4 ml). There were 23 solid (16.8%), 23 cystic (16.8%), and 91 mixed solid and cystic (66.4%) craniopharyngiomas. GKS was indicated for residual or recurrent craniopharyngiomas. The median radiation dose was 12 Gy (range 9.5-16.0 Gy) at a median isodose line of 55% (range 50%-78%).

RESULTS: At a median imaging follow-up of 45.7 months after GKS, the rates of tumor control were 72.7%, 73.9%, and 66.3% for the solid, cystic, and mixed tumors, respectively. The actuarial progression-free survival rates plotted by the Kaplan-Meier method were 70.0% and 43.8% at 5 and 10 years after radiosurgery, respectively. After repeated GKS, the actuarial progression-free survival rates were increased to 77.3% and 61.2% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. The overall survival rates were 91.5% and 83.9% at the 5- and 10-year follow-ups, respectively. Successful GKS treatment can be predicted by tumor volume (p = 0.011). Among the 137 patients who had clinical follow-up, new-onset or worsened pituitary deficiencies were detected in 11 patients (8.0%). Two patients without tumor growth had a worsened visual field, and 1 patient had a new onset of third cranial nerve palsy.

CONCLUSIONS: The current study suggests that GKS is a relatively safe modality for the treatment of recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas, and it is associated with improved tumor control and reduced in-field recurrence rates. Acceptable rates of complications occurred.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-178
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • craniopharyngioma
  • Gamma Knife surgery
  • GKS = Gamma Knife surgery
  • GTR = gross-total resection
  • progression-free survival
  • RT = radiotherapy
  • SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery
  • stereotactic radiosurgery
  • survival


Dive into the research topics of 'Gamma Knife surgery for craniopharyngioma: report on a 20-year experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this