PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol.8(11)
Background Craniopharyngiomas (CP) are locally invasive and frequently recurring neoplasms often resulting in neurological and endocrinological dysfunction in children. In addition, social-behavioral impairment is commonly reported following treatment for childhood CP, yet remains to be fully understood. The authors aimed to further characterize the prevalence of neurobehavioral, social, and emotional dysfunction in survivors of childhood craniopharyngiomas. Materials and Methods A systematic literature review was conducted in PubMed to identify studies formally assessing neurobehavioral, social, and emotional outcomes in patients treated for CP prior to 18 years of age. Studies published between the years 1990-2012 that reported the primary outcome (prevalence of neurobehavioral, social, emotional/affective dysfunction, and/or impaired quality of life (QoL)) in ≥10 patients were included. Results Of the 471 studies screened, 11 met inclusion criteria. Overall neurobehavioral dysfunction was reported in 51 of 90 patients (57%) with available data. Social impairment (i.e. withdrawal, internalizing behavior) was reported in 91 of 222 cases (41%). School dysfunction was reported in 48 of 136 patients (35%). Emotional/affective dysfunction was reported in 58 of 146 patients (40%), primarily consisting of depressive symptoms. Health related quality of life was affected in 49 of 95 patients (52%). Common descriptors of behavior in affected children included irritability, impulsivity, aggressiveness, and emotional outbursts. Conclusions Neurobehavioral, social, and emotional impairment is highly prevalent in survivors of childhood craniopharyngioma, and often affects quality of life. Thorough neurobehavioral/emotional screening and appropriate counseling is recommended in this population. Additional research is warranted to identify risk factors and treatment strategies for these disorders.