One hundred seven cases of craniopharyngiomas were treated using gamma knife surgery (GKS) at Komaki City Hospital during the past 12 years. The authors report the long-term results obtained in 100 patients who were followed for 6 to 148 months (mean 65.5 months).
All patients underwent GKS. The mean tumor diameter and volume were 18.8 mm and 5.8 ml, respectively; lesions were treated with a maximum dose of 21.8 Gy and marginal dose of 11.5 Gy (mean isocenters 4.5). Overall tumor responses were complete in 19, partial in 44, no change in 14, and disease progression in 23, yielding a complete response rate of 19%, overall response rate of 63%, control rate of 77%, and progression rate of 23%. Considering factors such as patient age, nature of the tumor (solid, mixed, cystic), frequency of previous treatments, and tumor size, the age and nature of the tumor were significant prognostic factors.
Changes in neurological and pituitary–hypothalamic symptoms after GKS were evaluated in 91 patients. Overall improvement was demonstrated in 17 (18.7%), no change in 59 (64.8%), and deterioration in 15 (16.5%). Outcome was documented in 93 cases: excellent in 42, good in 23, fair in seven, poor in three, and dead in 18 patients.
Stereotactic GKS is a safe and effective treatment as an adjuvant or boost therapy for postresection residual and/or recurrent craniopharyngiomas; the effects are durable and side effects acceptable.