Phosphorus-32 therapy for cystic craniopharyngiomas

Robert Bryan Barriger, Andrew Chang, Simon S. Lo, Robert D. Timmerman, Colleen Desrosiers, Joel C. Boaz, Achilles J. Fakiris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: To examine control rates for predominantly cystic craniopharyngiomas treated with intracavitary phosphorus-32 (P-32). Material and methods: 22 patients with predominantly cystic craniopharyngiomas were treated at Indiana University between October 1997 and December 2006. Nineteen patients with follow-up of at least 6 months were evaluated. The median patient age was 11 years, median cyst volume was 9 ml, a median dose of 300 Gy was prescribed to the cyst wall, and median follow-up was 62 months. Results: Overall cyst control rate after the initial P-32 treatment was 67%. Complete tumor control after P-32 was 42%. Kaplan-Meier 1-, 3-, and 5-year initial freedom-from- progression rates were 68%, 49%, and 31%, respectively. Following salvage therapy, the Kaplan-Meier 1-, 3-, and 5-year ultimate freedom-from-progression rates were 95%, 95%, and 86%, respectively. All patients were alive at the last follow-up. Visual function was stable or improved in 81% when compared prior to P-32 therapy. Pituitary function remained stable in 74% of patients following P-32 therapy. Conclusions: Intracystic P-32 can be an effective and tolerable treatment for controlling cystic components of craniopharyngiomas as a primary treatment or after prior therapies, but frequently allows for progression of solid tumor components. Disease progression in the form of solid tumor progression, re-accumulation of cystic fluid, or development of new cysts may require further radiotherapy or surgical intervention for optimal long-term disease control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • 32-Phosphorus
  • Brachytherapy
  • Craniopharyngioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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