Hypothalamic obesity has major impact on prognosis and quality of life (QoL) in childhood craniopharyngioma.
Patients and methods
For this study, 120 patients were prospectively recruited during 2001 and 2007 and evaluated after 3 years of follow-up (KRANIOPHARYNGEOM 2000). Body mass index (BMI) and QoL at diagnosis and 36 months after diagnosis were analysed based on the reference assessment of tumour localisation and post-surgical hypothalamic lesions. Treatment was analysed based on the neurosurgical strategy of 50 participating neurosurgical centres, the centre size based on the patient load.
BMI SDS at diagnosis was similar in patients with or without hypothalamic involvement. Surgical lesions of anterior and posterior hypothalamic areas were associated with higher increase in BMI SDS during 36 months post-diagnosis compared with patients without or only anterior lesion (+1.8 BMISD, P=0.033, +2.1 BMISD; P=0.011), negative impact on QoL in patients with posterior hypothalamic lesions. Surgical strategies varied among the 50 neurosurgical centres (three large-sized, 24 middle-sized and 23 small-sized centres). Patients treated in small-sized centres presented with a higher rate of hypothalamic involvement compared with those treated in the middle- and large-sized centres. Treatment in large-sized centres was less radical, and the rates of complete resection and hypothalamic surgical lesions were lower in large-sized centres than those of the middle- and small-sized centres. However, a multivariable analysis showed that pre-operative hypothalamic involvement was the only independent risk factor for severe obesity (P=0.002).
Radical neurosurgical strategies leading to posterior hypothalamic lesions are not recommended due to the potential to exacerbate hypothalamic obesity and impaired QoL. Treatment should be confined to experienced multidisciplinary teams.