BACKGROUND: Hypothalamic obesity (HO) is a major concern in patients treated for craniopharyngioma (CP). The influence of degree of resection on development of HO, event-free survival (EFS), and neuroendocrine sequelae is an issue of debate.
PROCEDURE: A retrospective cohort consisting of all CP patients treated between 2002 and 2012 in two university hospitals was identified. Multivariable logistic regression was used to study the associations between preoperative BMI, age at diagnosis, tumor volume, performed surgical resection, and presence of HO at follow-up.
RESULTS: Thirty-five patients (21 children and 14 adults) were included. Median follow-up time was 35.6 months (4.1-114.7). Four patients were obese at diagnosis. HO was present in 19 (54.3%) patients at last follow-up of whom eight were morbidly obese. Thirteen (37.1%) patients underwent partial resection (PR) and 22 (62.9%) gross total resection (GTR). GTR was related to HO (OR 9.19, 95% CI 1.43-59.01), but for morbid HO, obesity at diagnosis was the only risk factor (OR 12.92, 95% CI 1.05-158.73). EFS in patients after GTR was 86%, compared to 42% after PR (log-rank 9.2, P = 0.003). Adjuvant radiotherapy after PR improved EFS (log-rank 8.2, P = 0.004). Panhypopituitarism, present in 15 patients, was mainly seen after GTR.
CONCLUSIONS: HO is less frequent after PR than after GTR, but PR cannot always prevent the development of morbid obesity in patients with obesity at diagnosis. PR reduces the occurrence of panhypopituitarism. When developing a treatment algorithm, all these factors should be considered.