Exome sequencing studies have recently demonstrated that papillary craniopharyngiomas (PCPs) and adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (ACPs) have distinct genetic origins, each primarily driven by mutually exclusive alterations: either BRAF (V600E), observed in 95% of PCPs, or CTNNB1, observed in 75%–96% of ACPs. How the presence of these molecular signatures, or their absence, correlates with clinical, radiographic, and outcome variables is unknown.
The pathology records for patients who underwent surgery for craniopharyngiomas between May 2000 and March 2015 at Weill Cornell Medical College were reviewed. Craniopharyngiomas were identified and classified as PCP or ACP. Patients were placed into 1 of 3 groups based on their genomic mutations: BRAF mutation only, CTNNB1 mutation only, and tumors with neither of these mutations detected (not detected [ND]). Demographic, radiological, and clinical variables were collected, and their correlation with each genomic group was tested.
Histology correlated strongly with mutation group. All BRAF tumors with mutations were PCPs, and all CTNNB1 with mutations and ND tumors were ACPs. Preoperative and postoperative clinical symptoms and radiographic features did not correlate with any mutation group. There was a statistically significant relationship (p = 0.0323) between the age group (pediatric vs adult) and the mutation groups. The ND group tumors were more likely to involve the sella (p = 0.0065).
The mutation signature in craniopharyngioma is highly predictive of histology. The subgroup of tumors in which these 2 mutations are not detected is more likely to occur in children, be located in the sella, and be of ACP histology.