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Tumour Group:
Non-Malignant Brain Tumours
WHO Grade:
Grade I
Craniopharyngiomas account for 1.2 – 4.6% of all intracranial tumours.
Typical Age Range:
They are most common in children aged 5 to 15 years and adults aged 45 to 60 years.

Tumour Characteristics

A tumour that usually develops near the pituitary gland (a small endocrine gland at the base of the brain). Craniopharyngiomas are intracranial tumours that are typically both cystic and solid in structure.

Craniopharyngiomas are often not discovered until they press on important surrounding structures.

  • Grows in the regions of the optic nerves and the hypothalamus, near the pituitary gland
  • Most common in the parasellar region, an area at the base of the brain and near the optic nerves
  • Often accompanied by a cyst
  • Originates in cells left over from early fetal development
  • Tends to be low-grade


Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Delayed development in children
  • Headaches
  • Visual changes
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Excess thirst and urination

Treatment/Standard of Care

  • Surgery is the most common treatment. Craniopharyngiomas can be difficult tumours to resect, and open versus endoscopic approaches are sometimes possible. It is important that patients are referred to neurosurgeons with expertise in craniopharyngioma surgery.
  • Radiation therapy is often used following surgery or if there is a recurrence of the tumour.
  • Complete removal of this tumour is possible if it is in a favourable location.


A prognosis is an estimate of the likely progress of a disease after a diagnosis, based on an average patient group. Since every person is different, please take time to talk with your health care team about how this information applies to you.

By clicking on 'expand', a statistic on the prognosis for Craniopharyngioma will be shown.