OBJECTIVE: To assess the influence of craniopharyngioma or consequent surgery on melatonin secretion, and the association with fatigue, sleepiness, sleep pattern and sleep quality. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: A total of 15 craniopharyngioma patients were individually matched to healthy controls. In this study, 24-h salivary melatonin and cortisol were measured. Sleep-wake patterns were characterised by actigraphy and sleep diaries recorded for 2 weeks. Sleepiness, fatigue, sleep quality and general health were assessed by Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale and Short-Form 36. RESULTS: Patients had increased mental fatigue, daytime dysfunction, sleep latency and lower general health (all, P≤0.05), and they tended to have increased daytime sleepiness, general fatigue and impaired sleep quality compared with controls. The degree of hypothalamic injury was associated with an increased BMI and lower mental health (P=0.01). High BMI was associated with increased daytime sleepiness, daytime dysfunction, mental fatigue and lower mental health (all, P≤0.01). Low midnight melatonin was associated with reduced sleep time and efficiency (P≤0.03) and a tendency for increased sleepiness, impaired sleep quality and physical health. Midnight melatonin remained independently related to sleep time after adjustment for cortisol. Three different patterns of melatonin profiles were observed; normal (n=6), absent midnight peak (n=6) and phase-shifted peak (n=2). Only patients with absent midnight peak had impaired sleep quality, increased daytime sleepiness and general and mental fatigue. CONCLUSION: Craniopharyngioma patients present with changes in circadian pattern and daytime symptoms, which may be due to the influence of the craniopharyngioma or its treatment on the hypothalamic circadian and sleep regulatory nuclei.
European Journal of Endocrinology, 2014, Vol 170, Issue 6, p. 873-884