Molecular pathogenesis of craniopharyngioma: Switching from a surgical approach to a biological one

Benedetta Ludovica Pettorini, Paolo Frassanito, Massimo Caldarelli, Gianpiero T. Tamburrini, Luca Massimi, Concezio Di Rocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Craniopharyngioma has long been considered a benign tumor because of its pathological aspect. This primordial view of craniopharyngioma fit with the primitive treatment attempts based on blind resection of the tumor each time it recurred. The limits of this management strategy were proven early by the high morbidity related to the resection and recurrence risk despite radical lesion removal. Nowadays, craniopharyngioma must be considered a complex molecular disease, and a detailed explanation of the mechanisms underlying its aggressive biological and clinical behavior, despite some benign pathological features, would be the first step toward defining the best management of craniopharyngioma. Indeed, advances in the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms at the base of craniopharyngioma oncogenesis will lead to comprehension of the critical checkpoints involved in neoplastic transformation. The final research target will be the definition of new biological agents able to reverse the neoplastic process by acting on these critical checkpoints. This biological approach will lead to a refined therapy combining higher efficacy and safety with lower morbidity. In this paper the authors reveal state-of-the-art comprehension of the molecular biology of craniopharyngioma and the consequent therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurosurgical Focus
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Molecular biology
  • Oncogenetic mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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