Object. In this report the authors describe the epidemiology of craniopharyngioma.
Methods. The incidence of craniopharyngioma in the United States was estimated from two population-based cancer registries that include brain tumors of benign and borderline malignancy: the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) and the Los Angeles county Cancer Surveillance Program. Information on additional pediatric tumors was available from the Greater Delaware Valley Pediatric Tumor Registry (GDVPTR). The overall incidence of craniopharyngioma was 0.13 per 100,000 person years and did not vary by gender or race. A bimodal distribution by age was noted with peak incidence rates in children (aged 5–14 years) and among older adults (aged 65–74 years in CBTRUS and 50–74 years in Los Angeles county). Survival information was available from GDVPTR and the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a hospital-based reporting system. In the NCDB, the 5-year survival rate was 80% and decreased with older age at diagnosis. Survival is higher among children and has improved in recent years.
Conclusions. Craniopharyngioma is a rare brain tumor of uncertain behavior that occurs at a rate of 1.3 per million person years. Approximately 338 cases of this disease are expected to occur annually in the United States, with 96 occurring in children from 0 to 14 years of age.