Other Names for this Disease
- Adamantinomatous tumor
- Craniopharyngeal duct tumor
- Dysodontogenic epithelial tumor
- Rathke's pouch tumor
Your QuestionI underwent surgery for a craniopharyngioma last year. Although my cognitive symptoms are improved, I continue to suffer from hypersomnolence. Can you provide me with information?
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Questions on this page
- What is a craniopharyngioma?
- What symptoms may be associated with craniopharyngioma?
- What causes craniopharyngioma?
- How might craniopharyngiomas be treated?
- What is the prognosis for individuals with craniopharyngioma?
- Is there an association between craniopharyngioma and cataplexy and/or narcolepsy?
A craniopharyngioma is a slow-growing benign tumor that develops near the pituitary gland (a small endocrine gland at the base of the brain) and the hypothalamus (a small cone-shaped organ connected to the pituitary gland by nerves). This tumor most commonly affects children between 5 and 10 years of age; however, adults can sometimes be affected. Craniopharyngiomas are thought to arise from remnants of the craniopharyngeal duct and/or Rathke cleft or from metaplasia (abnormal transformation of cells) of squamous epithelial cell remnants of the stomadeum.[orphanet] Craniopharyngioma is treated with surgery alone or by surgery followed by radiation.
- by increasing the pressure on the brain (intracranial pressure)
- by disrupting the function of the pituitary gland
- by damaging the optic nerve
Increased pressure on the brain causes headache, nausea, vomiting (especially in the morning), and difficulty with balance.
Damage to the pituitary gland causes hormone imbalances that can lead to excessive thirst and urination (diabetes insipidus) and stunted growth. When the optic nerve is damaged by the tumor, vision problems develop. These defects are often permanent, and may be worse after surgery to remove the tumor.
Most patients have at least some visual defects and evidence of decreased hormone production at the time of diagnosis.
To read more about the association between craniopharyngioma and cataplexy and/or narcolepsy, visit the following link to articles from PubMed, a searchable database of medical literature.
- Blackman S. Craniopharyngioma. MedlinePlus. 2004; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000345.htm. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- General Information About Childhood Craniopharyngioma. National Cancer Institute (NCI). 2009; http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/child-cranio/Patient. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- Garnett MR, Puget S, Grill J, Sainte-Rose C. Craniopharyngioma. Orphanet. 2007; http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/Disease_Search.php?lng=EN&data_id=10756&Disease_Disease_Search_diseaseGroup=craniopharyngioma&Disease_Disease_Search_diseaseType=Pat&Disease(s)%20concerned=Craniopharyngioma&title=Craniopharyngioma&search=Disease_Search_Simple. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- Bobustuc GC, Groves MD, Fuller GN, DeMonte FN. Craniopharyngioma: Treatment & Medication. eMedicine. 2006; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1157758-treatment. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- Bobustuc GC, Groves MD, Fuller GN, DeMonte FN. Craniopharyngioma. eMedicine. 2006; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1157758-overview. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- Muller HL, Muller-Stover S, Gebhardt U, Kolb R, Sorensen N, Handwerker G. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2006; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16700320. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- Tachibana N, Taniike M, Okinaga T, Ripley B, Mignot E, Nishino S. 2005; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16084764. Accessed 4/3/2009.
- Marcus CL, Trescher WH, Halbower AC, Lutz J. Sleep. 2002; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12071545. Accessed 4/3/2009.