Karen Goddard – Research Grant – 2012

Karen Goddard, BC Cancer Research Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia

Project Title: Feasibility Study: “Cerebrovascular disease and Late Effects in Survivors of Craniopharyngioma”

What does the title mean?

The research will provide a model for screening and intervention of cerebrovascular disease in brain tumour survivors, a frequent long-term complication associated with the treatment of non-malignant craniopharyngiomas.

Project Summary:

Survivors of both pediatric and young adult craniopharyngiomas are at risk for significant late effects. Although these tumours are benign, they generally require both surgery and high dose radiation therapy (RT) for long term control. Documented late health problems include hypopituitarism, cognitive disabilities, visual deficits and hypothalamic-obesity.

More recently, cerebrovascular disease (CVD) has also been found to be a frequent long-term complication, and this has not yet been studied in any significant number of patients. We do not know the frequency or types of CVD, the difference in onset and type between survivors of childhood versus young adult tumors, the amenability of these malformations to interventional therapy, the clinical correlation with TIAs and stroke-like symptoms, and the frequency of conditions such as obesity and hypertension which may increase the risk of CVD in survivors. We propose a comprehensive study to answer these questions involving clinical assessment and MR angiography.

We are conducting a feasibility study on an initial 20 survivors prior to a study involving the entire cohort. This research will provide a model for screening and intervention of CVD in brain tumour survivors. Our goal is to reduce late morbidity and mortality in this population.