Craniopharyngioma - Childhood: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about craniopharyngioma and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

For craniopharyngioma, due to the general success of surgery and radiation therapy, research focuses on treatments for recurrent tumors or tumors that are unable to be completely removed by surgery. There is also ongoing research into the biology of craniopharyngioma to understand what allows the tumor to grow. Always talk with your child’s doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for your child.

Different methods of giving drugs.  Interferon given by weekly injection under the skin, called pegylated interferon, and chemotherapy or interferon (Roferon-A, Intron A, Alferon) injected directly into the tumor cyst (if there is a large one), are being looked at to treat some patients with craniopharyngioma. Interferon is a type of biologic therapy. Biologic therapy is designed to target areas on the tumor cells or the tumor blood vessels to try to stop the tumor from growing. Interferon is also part of the body’s natural immune system.

Improved methods of giving radiation therapy. For patients with a tumor that cannot be completely removed during surgery, doctors are studying new techniques for giving radiation therapy. The use of three-dimensional radiation techniques allows high doses of radiation therapy to be delivered to the tumor with lower doses to healthy brain tissue. These methods may help reduce damage to healthy tissues.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding craniopharyngioma, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

  • To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your child’s doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
  • Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for childhood tumors and cancers. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website. 

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.