Quality of life (QoL) is frequently impaired in childhood-onset craniopharyngioma (CP) by hypothalamic syndrome. The debate, whether pretreatment hypothalamic involvement (HI) has apriori prognostic impact or surgical hypothalamic lesions (HL) determine outcome, is controversial.
Survival and outcome of CPs recruited between 2007 and 2014 in KRANIOPHARYNGEOM 2007 were analyzed with regard to reference-confirmed presurgical HI and surgical HL.
Radiological findings, BMI and QoL were assessed at diagnosis and during follow-up. QoL was assessed using Pediatric Quality of Life (PEDQOL) questionnaire.
One hundred sixty-nine CPs were included presenting with no HI (n = 11), anterior (n = 49) and anterior + posterior (a + p) HI (n = 109) prior to surgery. The latter 109 were analyzed for postoperative HL (no lesion: n = 23, anterior HL: n = 29, a + pHL: n = 57). Progression-free survival (PFS) was higher after complete resection. The highest PFS was observed in CP with a + pHL, especially when compared between non-irradiated subgroups (P = 0.006). Overall survival (OS) rates were 1.0 in all subgroups. CP with a + pHL developed higher BMI (P ≤ 0.001) during follow-up compared between subgroups. 55/109 pts with a + pHI completed PEDQOL at diagnosis (48/109 at 3 years follow-up). QoL was worse for a + pHL patients in terms of physical, social and emotional functionality when compared with the anterior HL and no HL subgroup. BMI development and QoL during follow-up were similar for patients with anterior HL and without HL.
Posterior hypothalamus-sparing surgical strategies are associated with higher QoL, decreased development of obesity and lower PFS in CP.