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Radiation therapy and CyberKnife radiosurgery in the management of craniopharyngiomas.

OBJECT: Many benign intracranial tumors are amenable to radiotherapy treatment including meningiomas, schwannomas, pituitary tumors, and craniopharyngiomas. The authors present their experience in the treatment of craniopharyngiomas in 16 patients using frameless CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). The authors discuss the role of radiation therapy in the management of these tumors, and more specifically, the role of CyberKnife SRS.

METHODS: Sixteen patients were treated for residual or recurrent craniopharyngioma between 2000 and 2007 with CyberKnife SRS at Stanford University Medical Center. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging and visual and neuroendocrine evaluations before and at regular intervals after SRS. A multisession treatment regimen and a nonisocentric treatment plan for each patient were used with a mean marginal dose of 21.6 Gy and a mean maximal dose of 29.9 Gy.

RESULTS: There were adequate clinical data to assess outcomes in 11 of 16 patients. Evaluation of patients between 13 and 71 years of age (mean 34.5 years) with a mean follow-up period of 15.4 months revealed no deterioration in visual or neuroendocrine function. Tumor shrinkage was achieved in 7 of these 11 patients, and tumor control in another 3. One patient had cystic enlargement of the residual tumor.

CONCLUSIONS: The authors' early experience with the application of CyberKnife SRS to residual or recurrent craniopharyngiomas has been positive; control or shrinkage of the tumor was achieved in 91% of patients, with no visual or neuroendocrine complications. Longer-term follow-up with a larger group of patients is required to fully evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this treatment modality.

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