Hypothalamic obesity is common among patients with craniopharyngioma. This study examined whether precise stereotactic radiosurgery reduces the risk of hypothalamic obesity in cases of craniopharyngioma with expected long-term survival.
This cohort study included 40 patients who had undergone Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS; n = 22) or fractionated radiotherapy (FRT; n = 18) for residual or recurrent craniopharyngioma. Neurological presentations, tumor volume changes, and BMI values were meticulously reviewed. The median clinical follow-up durations were 9.7 years in the GKRS group and 10.8 years in the FRT group.
The median ages at the time of GKRS and FRT were 9.0 years and 10.0 years, respectively. The median margin dose of GKRS was 12.0 Gy (range 10.0–16.0 Gy), whereas the median dose of FRT was 50.40 Gy (range 44.1–56.3 Gy). Prior to GKRS or FRT, the median BMI values were 20.5 kg/m2 in the GKRS cohort and 20.0 kg/m2 in the FRT cohort. The median BMIs after radiation therapy at final follow-up were 21.0 kg/m2 and 24.0 kg/m2 for the GKRS and FRT cohorts, respectively. In the FRT cohort, BMI curves rapidly increased beyond the 85th percentile of the upper limit of the general population. BMI curves in the GKRS cohort increased more gradually, and many of the patients merged into the normal growth curve after adolescence. However, the observed difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.409).
The study compared the two adjuvant radiation modalities most commonly used for recurrent and residual craniopharyngioma. The authors’ results revealed that precise radiosurgery dose planning can mediate the subsequent increase in BMI. There is every indication that meticulous GKRS treatment is an effective approach to treating craniopharyngioma while also reducing the risk of hypothalamic obesity.