What is craniopharyngioma?

Craniopharyngioma is a type of childhood brain tumorThis tumor develops in the area of the brain called the pituitary gland and can extend to other areas of the brain, which can cause hormone dysfunction or vision problems. This tumor grows from cells that in the developing embryo had helped to form the normal pituitary gland. The pituitary gland secretes various hormones into the bloodstream.

Craniopharyngiomas can vary in size and may have cysts (fluid filled sacs). The cysts can become very large in size, and occasionally extend into both sides of the brain. They also can have calcium deposits within them.

How we care for craniopharyngioma

Children with craniopharygioma are treated through the Brain Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, a world-renowned destination for children with malignant and non-malignant brain and spinal cord tumors. Our brain tumor specialists have extensive expertise in treating all types of neural tumors, including craniopharyngiomas. Our patients receive care from neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists and pediatric subspecialists.

Our areas of research for craniopharyngioma

Clinical trials, or research studies evaluating new treatment approaches, are a major offering at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. For many children with brain tumors or other rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.

Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s researchers are working on developing new and better treatment options. It’s possible that your child will be eligible to participate in one of our brain tumor clinical trials. In addition to launching our own clinical trials, we also offer trials available through collaborative groups such as the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and the Pacific Neuro-oncology Consortium (PNOC). We are also the New England Phase I Center of the Children's Oncology Group. If your child has progressive or recurrent tumors, they may be eligible for a number of experimental therapies available through these groups, or from one of our independent clinical investigators.