Stem cells have been discovered as key players in the genesis of different neoplasms including craniopharyngioma (CP), a rare tumour entity in the sellar region. Sox2 and Sox9 are well-known stem cell markers involved in pituitary development. In this study we analysed the expression of both transcription factors using immunohistochemistry in a large cohort of 64 adamantinomatous (aCP) and 9 papillary CP (pCP) and quantitative PCR in 26 aCP and 7 pCP. Whereas immunohistochemically Sox2+ cells were verifiable in only five aCP (7.8%) and in 39.1% of the respective surrounding cerebral tissue, pCP specimens appeared always negative. In contrast, Sox9 was detectable in all tumours with a significantly higher expression in aCP compared to pCP (protein, p < 0.0001; mRNA p = 0.0484) This was also true for the respective tumour adjacent CNS where 63 aCP (98.4%) and six pCP (66.7%) showed Sox9+ cells. We further confirmed absence of Sox9 expression in nuclear β-catenin accumulating cells of aCP. Our results point to the conclusion that Sox2 and Sox9, seem to play essential roles not only in the specific formation of aCP, but also in processes involving the cerebral tumour environment, which needs to be illuminated in the future. © 2017 The Author(s).