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Jun Fan, Yi Liu, Jun Pan, Yuping Peng, Junxiang Peng, Yun Bao, Jing Nie, Chaohu Wang, Binghui Qiu, and Songtao Qi


An assessment of the transcranial approach (TCA) and the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for craniopharyngiomas (CPs) according to tumor types has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate both surgical approaches for different types of CPs.


A retrospective review of primary resected CPs was performed. A QST classification system based on tumor origin was used to classify tumors into 3 types as follows: infrasellar/subdiaphragmatic CPs (Q-CPs), subarachnoidal CPs (S-CPs), and pars tuberalis CPs (T-CPs). Within each tumor type, patients were further arranged into two groups: those treated via the TCA and those treated via the EEA. Patient and tumor characteristics, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were obtained. All variables were statistically analyzed between surgical groups for each tumor type.


A total of 315 patients were included in this series, of whom 87 were identified with Q-CPs (49 treated via TCA and 38 via EEA); 56 with S-CPs (36 treated via TCA and 20 via EEA); and 172 with T-CPs (105 treated via TCA and 67 via EEA). Patient and tumor characteristics were equivalent between both surgical groups in each tumor type. The overall gross-total resection rate (90.5% TCA vs 91.2% EEA, p = 0.85) and recurrence rate (8.9% TCA vs 6.4% EEA, p = 0.35) were similar between surgical groups. The EEA group had a greater chance of visual improvement (61.6% vs 35.8%, p = 0.01) and a decreased risk of visual deterioration (1.6% vs 11.0%, p < 0.001). Of the patients with T-CPs, postoperative hypothalamic status was better in the TCA group than in the EEA group (p = 0.016). Postoperative CSF leaks and nasal complication rates occurred more frequently in the EEA group (12.0% vs 0.5%, and 9.6% vs 0.5%; both p < 0.001). For Q-CPs, EEA was associated with an increased gross-total resection rate (97.4% vs 85.7%, p = 0.017), decreased recurrence rate (2.6% vs 12.2%, p = 0.001), and lower new hypopituitarism rate (28.9% vs 57.1%, p = 0.008). The recurrence-free survival in patients with Q-CPs was also significantly different between surgical groups (log-rank test, p = 0.037). The EEA required longer surgical time for T-CPs (p = 0.01).


CPs could be effectively treated by radical surgery with favorable results. Both TCA and EEA have their advantages and limitations when used to manage different types of tumors. Individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to achieve optimal outcomes.

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Jun Fan, Yuping Peng, Songtao Qi, Xi-an Zhang, Binghui Qiu, and Jun Pan


An assessment regarding both surgical approaches and the extent of resection for Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs) based on their locations has not been reported. The aim of this study was to report the results of a large series of surgically treated patients with RCCs and to evaluate the feasibility of individualized surgical strategies for different RCCs.


We retrospectively reviewed 87 cases involving patients with RCCs (16 intrasellar, 50 intra- and suprasellar, and 21 purely suprasellar lesions). Forty-nine patients were treated via a transsphenoidal (TS) approach, and 38 were treated via a transcranial (TC) approach (traditional craniotomy in 21 cases and supraorbital keyhole craniotomy in 17). The extent of resection was classified as gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection (STR) of the cyst wall. Patients were thus divided into 3 groups according to the approach selected and the extent of resection: TS/STR (n = 49), TC/STR (n = 23), and TC/GTR (n = 15).


Preoperative headaches, visual dysfunction, hypopituitarism, and diabetes insipidus (DI) resolved in 85%, 95%, 55%, and 65% of patients, respectively. These rates did not differ significantly among the 3 groups. Overall, complications occurred in 8% of patients in TS/STR group, 9% in TC/STR group, and 47% in TC/GTR group, respectively (p = 0.002). Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage (3%), new hypopituitarism (9%), and DI (6%) were observed after surgery. All CSF leaks occurred in the endonasal group, while the TC/GTR group showed a higher rate of postoperative hypopituitarism (p = 0.7 and p < 0.001, respectively). It should be particularly noted that preoperative hypopituitarism and DI returned to normal, respectively, in 100% and 83% of patients who underwent supraorbital surgery, and with the exception of 1 patient who had transient postoperative DI, there were no complications in patients treated with supraorbital surgery. Kaplan-Meier 3-year recurrence-free rates were 84%, 87%, and 86% in the TS/STR, TC/STR, and TC/GTR groups, respectively (p = 0.9).


It is reasonable to adopt individualized surgical strategies for RCCs based on cyst location. Gross-total resection does not appear to reduce the recurrence rate but increase the risk of postoperative complications. The endonasal approach seems more appropriate for primarily intrasellar RCCs, while the craniotomy is recommended for purely or mainly suprasellar cysts. The supraorbital route appears to be preferred over traditional craniotomy for its minimal invasiveness and favorable outcomes. The endoscopic technique is helpful for either endonasal or supraorbital surgery.

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Jun Fan, Songtao Qi, Yuping Peng, Xi-an Zhang, Binghui Qiu, and Jun Pan

Rathke's cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign cysts typically located in the sellar or suprasellar region; ectopic isolated lesions are extremely rare. The authors describe the case of a 25-year-old man with a giant symptomatic RCC arising primarily at the cerebellopontine angle (CPA), only the second case reported thus far. The patient presented with a 2-year history of right hearing impairment and tinnitus accompanied by vertigo and headache and a 2-week history of right facial numbness. Subsequently, he underwent total cyst removal via retrosigmoid craniotomy with a good recovery. He experienced no recurrence during a 64-month follow-up period. The possible pathogenesis, differential diagnosis, and surgical treatment of such cysts are discussed in this article. Isolated ectopic RCCs can arise from the ectopic migration of Rathke's pouch cells during the embryonic period. It is still difficult to distinguish ectopic RCCs from other cystic lesions of the CPA given the lack of specific imaging features. Aggressive resection of the cyst wall is not recommended, except when lesions do not closely adhere to adjacent structures.