Craniopharyngiomas are among the most challenging of intracranial tumors to manage because of their pattern of growth, associated morbidities, and high recurrence rate. Complete resection on initial encounter can be curative, but it may be impeded by the risks posed by the involved neurovascular structures. Recurrent craniopharyngiomas, in turn, are frequently refractory to additional surgery and adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy.
The authors conducted a review of primary literature.
Recent advances in the understanding of craniopharyngioma biology have illuminated potential oncogenic targets for pharmacotherapy. Specifically, distinct molecular profiles define two histological subtypes of craniopharyngioma: adamantinomatous and papillary. The discovery of overactive B-Raf signaling in the adult papillary subtype has led to reports of targeted inhibitors, with a growing acceptance for refractory cases. An expanding knowledge of the biological underpinnings of craniopharyngioma will continue to drive development of targeted therapies and immunotherapies that are personalized to the molecular signature of each individual tumor.
The rapid translation of genomic findings to medical therapies for recurrent craniopharyngiomas serves as a roadmap for other challenging neurooncological diseases.