The descriptive epidemiology of craniopharyngioma

Greta R. Bunin Ph.D.1, Tanya S. Surawicz M.P.H.1, Philip A. Witman M.P.H., M.Phil.1, Susan Preston-Martin Ph.D.1, Faith Davis Ph.D.1, and Janet M. Bruner M.D.1
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  • 1 Division of Oncology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois; Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; University of Southern California, Norris Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California; and Department of Pathology, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
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Object. In this report the authors describe the epidemiology of craniopharyngioma.

Methods. The incidence of craniopharyngioma in the United States was estimated from two population-based cancer registries that include brain tumors of benign and borderline malignancy: the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) and the Los Angeles county Cancer Surveillance Program. Information on additional pediatric tumors was available from the Greater Delaware Valley Pediatric Tumor Registry (GDVPTR). The overall incidence of craniopharyngioma was 0.13 per 100,000 person years and did not vary by gender or race. A bimodal distribution by age was noted with peak incidence rates in children (aged 5–14 years) and among older adults (aged 65–74 years in CBTRUS and 50–74 years in Los Angeles county). Survival information was available from GDVPTR and the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a hospital-based reporting system. In the NCDB, the 5-year survival rate was 80% and decreased with older age at diagnosis. Survival is higher among children and has improved in recent years.

Conclusions. Craniopharyngioma is a rare brain tumor of uncertain behavior that occurs at a rate of 1.3 per million person years. Approximately 338 cases of this disease are expected to occur annually in the United States, with 96 occurring in children from 0 to 14 years of age.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Tanya S. Surawicz, M.P.H., Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois, 2121 West Taylor Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612. email: surawicz@uic.edu.
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