The prognosis in this disease is very variable.
The natural history can be indolent or these tumors can be associated with persistent cyst formation and growth. Even though they are classified as histologically benign tumors, craniopharyngiomas tend to shorten life, and can more aptly be called low-grade malignancies.
One of the most important prognostic factors is recurrence. The 20 year survival is around 60%, but once recurrence occurs the survival rate drops to 25%.
There are several factors that correlate with a more negative prognosis:
- Presence of calcification
- Incomplete tumor resection (based on postoperative imaging and presence of gross residual disease)4
- Severe hydrocephalus
- Adverse intraoperative events
- Age of less than 5 years
The prognostic significance of tumor type remains controversial.