Secondary narcolepsy in children with brain tumors

Carole L. Marcus, William Trescher, Ann C. Halbower, Janita Lutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We report two cases of children with disabling daytime sleepiness associated with suprasellar tumors and hypothalamic obesity. Multiple sleep latency testing demonstrated features consistent with severe narcolepsy, with sleep latencies of 0.25 and 0.75 minutes, and REM latencies of 2.1 and 1.5 minutes, respectively. An additional patient with hypothalamic damage secondary to a brain tumor, who was thought to be in a vegetative state, had features of narcolepsy on polysomnography. All children responded well to treatment with stimulants. We speculate that secondary narcolepsy associated with hypothalamic tumors is due to damage or loss of hypothalamic hypocretin-containing neurons. In view of the good response to treatment, we recommend that all children with excessive daytime sleepiness and hypothalamic damage be evaluated for narcolepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-439
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 15 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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