<%server.execute "isdev.asp"%> Remote delayed recurrence of craniopharyngioma after radiotherapy Balasubramaniam C, Mohan SR, Subramaniam K - J Pediatr Neurosci
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35-37

Remote delayed recurrence of craniopharyngioma after radiotherapy

Department of Neurosurgery, Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication2-Apr-2015

Correspondence Address:
Chidambaram Balasubramaniam
New No 14 (Old 26) Second Main Road, Cit Colony, Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1745.154328

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The aim was to present a rare case of recurrent craniopharyngioma remote from the primary site of origin. A young girl was operated for sellar region craniopharyngioma. For a small residual tumor, she underwent radiotherapy. Follow-up imaging did not reveal any residual tumor or recurrence. Surveillance magnetic resonance imaging after 5 years revealed a recurrence in the right Sylvian fissure. This tumor was totally excised.Recurrence of craniopharyngioma is well-known, but recurrence at a site remote from the original site after radiotherapy is extremely rare. One such case is being presented.

Keywords: Craniopharyngioma remote recurrence, recurrent craniopharyngioma, recurrent craniopharyngioma after radiotherapy

How to cite this article:
Balasubramaniam C, Mohan SR, Subramaniam K. Remote delayed recurrence of craniopharyngioma after radiotherapy. J Pediatr Neurosci 2015;10:35-7

How to cite this URL:
Balasubramaniam C, Mohan SR, Subramaniam K. Remote delayed recurrence of craniopharyngioma after radiotherapy. J Pediatr Neurosci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Dec 2];10:35-7. Available from: https://www.pediatricneurosciences.com/text.asp?2015/10/1/35/154328

   Introduction Top

Craniopharyngioma is an uncommon tumor of the nervous system; it is well-known to recur even several years after surgery. Radiotherapy may confer a benefit and mitigate the chance of recurrence. We are here with reporting a case of craniopharyngioma which recurred at a site removed from the original site 5 years after surgery and radiotherapy.

   Case Report Top

A 4-year-old girl was admitted for progressive deterioration of vision of 2 months duration. In addition, the family noticed she was not very active. There was no history of endocrinopathy, fits or any symptom of raised intracranial pressure. On examination, visual acuity was questionable perception of light on the right side and counting fingers at 3 m distance on the left. Bilateral optic atrophy was present. Neurologic exam was unremarkable otherwise. Imaging revealed a solid and cystic craniopharyngioma in the sellar-suprasellar region [Figure 1]a and b. She underwent a right frontotemporal craniotomy and transsylvian exploration and almost total excision of the tumor. Postoperatively, she developed dyselectrolytemia. Histologic examination showed an adamatinomatous craniopharyngioma. Postoperative MR showed a tiny residual tumor adherent to the pons [Figure 2]a and b.
Figure 1: (a and b) showing the preoperative images (before first surgery)

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Figure 2: (a and b) images after first surgery showing no residual tumour in the primary site but a small fragment adherent to the pons

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She was given a course of radiotherapy for this residue −54 Gy in 30 fractions.

Follow-up imaging at the end of 2 years did not reveal any residual tumor [Figure 3]. She had improved well and was attending school. Replacement hormonal therapy was being administered.
Figure 3 : Two years after surgery and radiotherapy no recurrence

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Imaging was being done periodically to check for recurrence. The 5-year surveillance imaging showed a recurrence in the right Sylvian fissure along the route taken during the first surgery. The tumor was solid and cystic in nature. There was no evidence of tumor in the sellar-suprasellar area [Figure 4]a and b. She did not exhibit any symptoms attributable to the recurrence. She underwent reexploration by the same route, and a tiny fragment densely adherent to the middle cerebral artery was left behind. Postoperative imaging has not shown any residual tumor. She continues to do well and is on replacement therapy.
Figure 4: (a and b) showing remote recurrence five years after first surgery and radiotherapy. The primary site is free of tumour

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   Discussion Top

Although craniopharyngiomas are benign tumors they are known to recur even after years and even after the administration of radiotherapy, recurrence rates ranging from 25% to 70%. [1],[2] Less than 20 cases have been reported. [2] Recurrence may occur even after a "total" excision of the tumor. [2] But almost all recurrences occur at the primary site. Recurrences at a site removed from the original site are very rare <25 cases have been reported. [1],[3] The recurrence may occur even two decades after the primary has been treated. [4] Ectopic recurrences have been recorded in various sites. [5] These ectopic recurrences are not to be misinterpreted as ectopic primary occurrences since craniopharyngioma can occur anywhere along the obliterated Rathke's pouch. [6],[7] These ectopic recurrences may occur along the surgical pathway or at a site, not along the surgical pathway. The cells of the tumor may get implanted and may subsequently metamorphose into a fresh neoplasm. [4]

These ectopic recurrences may occur by three mechanisms. First, the tumor cells may get implanted along the corridor during dissection. These tumor cells may in turn give rise to the regrowth of the tumor. The usual time to recurrence is around 4 years. [2],[3] But why this has to be a peculiarity of craniopharyngiomas cannot be explained. Another way the tumor may get seeded at a distant site is spread along the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathways. [3],[5],[8] The evidence for this is strong since tumor cells have been observed in the CSF. [9] Tumor spread along the Virchow-Robin spaces have also been hypothesized. [1],[2] Although most recurrences are along the surgical corridor an instance where the recurrence has occurred in the spine has been recorded. [8]

All recurrences along the surgical corridor have occurred after transcranial surgery. [1],[10] When the transsphenoidal route is used, the CSF spaces are not violated this may explain the absence of recurrences after transsphenoidal route. [1],[4] It is not surprising to observe that the histologic examination of the primary and recurrent lesions are the same. [1]

Recurrences rates are said to be low after total surgical excision. But recurrences even decades after a quiescent period are well-known. The role of radiotherapy in preventing or minimizing recurrences is still controversial. Recurrences after adjuvant therapy are well known. It can be assumed that radiotherapy would have "sterilized" the surgical corridor and ectopic recurrences will not occur. But this was not the case in our patient, and in the few that have been reported. [4] Only five cases of ectopic recurrence have been noted after postop radiotherapy. [10]

Total excision is not an assurance that recurrences at ectopic or primary site will not occur. [1] Certain measures have been proposed to minimize these ectopic recurrences, protecting the operative field with patties to prevent seeding, emptying the cyst prior to removal of tumor, thorough irrigation of the field before dural closure. [1],[4] Probably, a higher MIB-1 index and expression of p53 may predispose to these recurrences. [10]

But eternal vigilance and regular imaging are mandatory to detect recurrences. Another point worthy of note is why this phenomenon is not seen with respect to other benign tumors like meningiomas or even malignant tumors.

   References Top

Schmalisch K, Beschorner R, Psaras T, Honegger J. Postoperative intracranial seeding of craniopharyngiomas - Report of three cases and review of the literature. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2010;152:313-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bikmaz K, Guerrero CA, Dammers R, Krisht AF, Husain MM. Ectopic recurrence of craniopharyngiomas: Case report. Neurosurgery 2009;64:E382-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
Romani R, Niemelä M, Celik O, Isarakul P, Paetau A, Hernesniemi J. Ectopic recurrence of craniopharyngioma along the surgical route: Case report and literature review. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2010;152:297-302.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ito M, Jamshidi J, Yamanaka K. Does craniopharyngioma metastasize? Case report and review of the literature. Neurosurgery 2001;48:933-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Frangou EM, Tynan JR, Robinson CA, Ogieglo LM, Vitali AM. Metastatic craniopharyngioma: Case report and literature review. Childs Nerv Syst 2009;25:1143-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Sangiovanni G, Tancioni F, Tartara F, Gaetani P, Rindi G, Passeri F, et al. Ectopic craniopharyngioma: Presentation of a case arising from the corpus callosum. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 1997;139:379-80.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ragel BT, Bishop FS, Couldwell WT. Recurrent infrasellar clival craniopharyngioma. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2007;149:729-30.  Back to cited text no. 7
Lermen O, Frank S, Hassler W. Postoperative spinal recurrence of craniopharyngioma. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2010;152:309-11.  Back to cited text no. 8
Nomura H, Kurimoto M, Nagai S, Hayashi N, Hirashima Y, Tsukamoto E, et al. Multiple intracranial seeding of craniopharyngioma after repeated surgery - Case report. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo) 2002;42:268-71.  Back to cited text no. 9
Elfving M, Lundgren J, Englund E, Strömblad LG, Erfurth EM. Ectopic recurrence of a craniopharyngioma in a 15-year-old girl 9 years after surgery and conventional radiotherapy: Case report. Childs Nerv Syst 2011;27:845-51.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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