What Is Papillary Craniopharyngioma?

A rare kind of brain tumour that develops close to the pituitary gland is called a papillary craniopharyngioma. It is frequently curable, and for many, surgery is the best course of action.

An extremely rare kind of brain tumour is called a craniopharyngioma. Each year in the US, only roughly 600 people are diagnosed with this form of tumour. Adamantinomatous and papillary craniopharyngiomas are the two kinds of the condition.

Physicians typically treat papillary craniopharyngiomas in adulthood, as they are the less aggressive of the two forms. Surgery can frequently be used to treat papillary craniopharyngiomas.

What causes a papillary craniopharyngioma?

The cause of papillary craniopharyngiomas is unknown. Unlike certain other tumour types, no definite chromosomal or genetic aetiology is known. Furthermore, no recognised risk factors exist for this particular kind of brain tumour.

What are the symptoms of a papillary craniopharyngioma?

Depending on the size and location of the tumour, a papillary craniopharyngioma may present with different symptoms.

Typical signs and symptoms include:
  • headache
  • eye muscle weakness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • low blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • personality changes
  • adrenal insufficiency
  • hormonal imbalance
  • heat or cold intolerance
  • excessive sleepiness
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive hunger
  • confusion
  • fatigue
  • loss of peripheral vision
  • double vision
In addition to development and puberty delays, papillary craniopharyngiomas in children and teenagers can cause other symptoms. Children rarely get this kind of craniopharyngioma, though.

What are the treatment options for papillary craniopharyngiomas?

Treatment options for papillary craniopharyngioma are several. For most people, surgery is their main course of treatment. To confirm a precise diagnosis, the surgeon will be able to remove the tumour and get tissue samples.

For papillary craniopharyngiomas, there are two surgical options: endonasal craniotomy and open craniotomy.

An open craniotomy involves the temporary creation of a skull opening by a surgeon to access the brain and remove the tumour. After that, the skull is closed using surgical plates.

An endoscope is a tiny, flexible tube that is used in endonasal procedures. It is equipped with surgical instruments, a light, and a camera. The camera transmits back a visual feed that the surgeon uses to locate and carefully remove the tumour after the surgeon puts the tube through the nose and into the brain.

Doctors can choose the optimal surgical procedure for you based on factors including the location and size of your tumour.

Papillary craniopharyngiomas have a few secondary therapy possibilities. Among them are:
  • Radiation therapy: Any tumour cells that are left over or return after surgery can be targeted with radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is less frequently used by doctors to treat papillary craniopharyngiomas, although it is still a possibility for certain patients.
  • Clinical trials: Despite the rarity of papillary craniopharyngiomas, specialists are creating novel therapies. If you would want to participate in clinical trials of novel treatment alternatives, your doctor can determine if you are a suitable candidate.

What’s the survival rate for a papillary craniopharyngioma?

Since craniopharyngiomas are uncommon tumours, less information on their prognosis is available than for many other tumour kinds. Furthermore, the survival rates for papillary and adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas are not separated in the most recent data.

That being said, 86.2% of the 1,213 individuals with craniopharyngiomas between 2004 and 2017 who were examined in this study had an overall 5-year survival rate.

As is the case with all tumours, survival depends on several individual circumstances, including your age, general health, and the location and size of the tumour. It is advisable to discuss the prognosis for your particular tumour with your physician.

Living with a papillary craniopharyngioma

Managing an illness like a papillary craniopharyngioma might be overwhelming, but you can get help from resources. You could attempt contacting:
  • The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA): The American Brain Tumour Association (ABTA) provides educational materials, advice on managing a brain tumour, links to nearby support groups, and more.
  • National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS): Visit the NBTS website to find out more about brain tumours, locate the best physicians in your area, register for advocacy and awareness events, join online support groups, and more.
  • Brain Tumor Network: By contacting the Brain Tumour Network, you can access a plethora of additional resources in addition to the assistance of a patient navigator during your treatment.
  • Voices Against Brain Cancer: Brain Cancer Coaches are available from Voices Against Brain Cancer, and they can help you find resources, navigate treatment, get support, and offer guidance.



Extremely uncommon brain tumours called papillary craniopharyngiomas develop close to the pituitary gland. They induce a wide range of symptoms, such as changes in eyesight, headaches, excessive appetite and thirst, hormonal abnormalities, and exhaustion, and they affect adults more frequently than children.

Surgery to remove the tumour is the most common treatment option for a papillary craniopharyngioma. Radiation therapy is a common tool used by doctors to target cancer cells that remain after surgery.

Although the course of a papillary craniopharyngioma can vary depending on certain conditions, it is typically curable.


Is craniopharyngioma a tumour?

benign tumors

Is craniopharyngioma life-threatening?

10-year survival rates of approximately 90%.

Can craniopharyngioma be cured?

Most people treated for craniopharyngioma are cured.

How is craniopharyngioma treated without surgery?

Radiation therapy

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