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Vol. 34. Issue 1.
Pages 32-39 (January - February 2023)
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Vol. 34. Issue 1.
Pages 32-39 (January - February 2023)
Review article
Ectopic recurrence of craniopharyngioma in the posterior fossa: Case report and review of the literature
Recurrencia ectópica de craneofaringioma en fosa posterior: presentación de casos y revisión de la literatura
Antonio Selfa
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Cinta Arráez, Ángela Ros, Jorge Linares, Laura Cerro, Miguel Ángel Arráez
Department of Neurological Surgery, Hospital Regional Universitario, Malaga, Spain
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Craniopharyngiomas are benign epithelial tumors which may very occasionally recur in ectopic locations. We present two cases of ectopic recurrence, both in the posterior fossa, and provide a review of the literature with basic statistics. Two patients admitted to our institution with posterior fossa lesions underwent gross total resection. Pathological studies showed adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (ACP). Both patients had a prior history of suprasellar tumor surgery. We also reviewed the related data and undertook a basic statistical analysis. We found 67 cases of ectopic recurrent craniopharyngioma (including the present cases): 51 cases were adamantinomatous (76%), 6 papillary (9%) and 10 unknown (15%). 18 cases occurred in the posterior fossa, all of them diagnosed as the ACP subtype. The intervals until recurrence were 15.15 years for posterior fossa recurrences and 5.75 years for supratentorial cases. Student t test showed significant differences in time to recurrence (p 0.002). Gross total resection was performed in 53 cases (79%), subtotal resection+radiotherapy in 3 (5%) and 11 (16%) cases were treated with other options. Ectopic recurrence is a rare but possible event. Those in the posterior fossa may appear later than in the supratentorial space. ACP is likely to be the most common subtype in these cases, possibly due to its more aggressive behavior compared to the papillary subtype. Long term follow-up should be performed to detect ectopic recurrences. Ectopic recurrences are often surgically accessible and gross total resection should be achieved.

Ectopic recurrence
Posterior fossa
Cranial skull base
Endoscopic approach

Los craneofaringiomas son tumores epiteliales benignos que pueden recurrir ocasionalmente en localizaciones ectópicas. Presentamos 2 casos de recurrencias ectópicas, ambos en fosa posterior, y realizamos una revisión de la literatura con análisis estadístico básico. Dos pacientes ingresaron en nuestro servicio con lesiones en fosa posterior en quienes se indicó resección quirúrgica. El diagnóstico histopatológico fue de craneofaringioma adamantinomatoso en ambos casos. Ambos pacientes fueron intervenidos años atrás por un tumor supraselar. Se hallaron 67 casos descritos de recurrencia ectópica de craneofaringioma (incluyendo el presente estudio): 51 fueron adamantinomatoso (76%), 6 papilar (9%) y 10 desconocidos (15%). Dieciocho casos ocurrieron en la fosa posterior, todos con diagnóstico de craneofaringioma adamantinomatoso. El intervalo hasta la recurrencia fue de 15,15 años para aquellas en la fosa posterior y de 5,75 años para recurrencias supratentoriales. El test de Student mostró diferencias estadísticamente significativas en el tiempo de recurrencia (p 0,002). En 53 casos se obtuvo una resección completa (79%), resección subtotal + radioterapia en 3 (5%) y 11 casos se usaron otras modalidades de tratamiento (16%). La recurrencia ectópica es un evento raro, pero posible. Aquellas en la fosa posterior pueden aparecer más tarde que a nivel supratentorial. Los craneofaringiomas adamantinomatosos son los subtipos más probables en esos casos, posiblemente debido a su comportamiento más agresivo comparado con los papilares. Un seguimiento a largo plazo debe llevarse a cabo para detectar dichas recurrencias ectópicas, ya que estas suelen ser quirúrgicamente accesibles, y debe obtenerse una resección completa.

Palabras clave:
Recurrencia ectópica
Fosa posterior
Base de cráneo
Abordaje endoscópico


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