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Childhood Craniopharyngioma Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 08/12/2014

Treatment Options for Recurrent Childhood Craniopharyngioma

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

Recurrence of craniopharyngioma occurs in approximately 35% of patients regardless of primary therapy.[1] Management is determined in large part by prior therapy. Repeat attempts at gross total resection are difficult and long-term disease control is less often achieved.[2][Level of evidence: 3iiiDi] Complications are more frequent than with initial surgery.[3][Level of evidence: 3iiiDi] External-beam radiation therapy is an option if this has not been previously employed, including consideration of radiosurgery in selected circumstances.[4][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii] Cystic recurrences may be treated with intracavitary instillation of radioactive P-32, bleomycin,[5][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii] or interferon-alpha,[6][Level of evidence: 3iiiB] and a reservoir may be placed to permit intermittent outpatient aspiration. Although systemic therapy is generally not utilized, a small series has shown that the use of subcutaneous pegylated interferon alpha-2b to manage cystic recurrences can result in durable responses.[7][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii]

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

The following is an example of a national and/or institutional clinical trial that is currently being conducted. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • PBTC-039 (NCT01964300) (Peginterferon Alfa-2b in Treating Younger Patients With Craniopharyngioma That is Recurrent or Cannot Be Removed By Surgery): This is a phase II clinical trial evaluating how well peginterferon alfa-2b works in treating children with craniopharyngioma that is recurrent or cannot be removed by surgery. This trial follows a small (N = 5) single-institution experience with peginterferon alfa-2b, in which prolonged complete responses were observed in some patients.[7]
References
  1. Yang I, Sughrue ME, Rutkowski MJ, et al.: Craniopharyngioma: a comparison of tumor control with various treatment strategies. Neurosurg Focus 28 (4): E5, 2010.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  2. Vinchon M, Dhellemmes P: Craniopharyngiomas in children: recurrence, reoperation and outcome. Childs Nerv Syst 24 (2): 211-7, 2008.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Jang WY, Lee KS, Son BC, et al.: Repeat operations in pediatric patients with recurrent craniopharyngiomas. Pediatr Neurosurg 45 (6): 451-5, 2009.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Xu Z, Yen CP, Schlesinger D, et al.: Outcomes of Gamma Knife surgery for craniopharyngiomas. J Neurooncol 104 (1): 305-13, 2011.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Hukin J, Steinbok P, Lafay-Cousin L, et al.: Intracystic bleomycin therapy for craniopharyngioma in children: the Canadian experience. Cancer 109 (10): 2124-31, 2007.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  6. Cavalheiro S, Di Rocco C, Valenzuela S, et al.: Craniopharyngiomas: intratumoral chemotherapy with interferon-alpha: a multicenter preliminary study with 60 cases. Neurosurg Focus 28 (4): E12, 2010.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  7. Yeung JT, Pollack IF, Panigrahy A, et al.: Pegylated interferon-α-2b for children with recurrent craniopharyngioma. J Neurosurg Pediatr 10 (6): 498-503, 2012.  [PUBMED Abstract]