Tumor oncotypes, initial symptoms and endocrine disturbances before and/or 1 month after surgery were studied in 66 patients with prepubertal and pubertal ages having suprasellar or pineal intracranial tumors. Neoplasms found in patients of prepubertal age were: 15 craniopharyngiomas (CRA), 24 neuroepithelial-cell-derived tumors (NEC), 5 germ cell tumors (GERM) and 4 other lesions (OTHER). In patients of pubertal age, there were 7 CRA, 7 pituitary tumors (PIT), 2 NEC, 1 GERM and 1 OTHER. Approximately 90% of patients had visual abnormalities as one of the initial signs and symptoms, while 59% had increased intracranial pressure. Short stature was observed in only 10% of patients. Before surgery, somatotropic function was found to be deficient (by 2 pharmacological tests) in 90-100% of patients with CRA, PIT or GERM and in 40% of patients with NEC. Overt hypothyroidism was found in 5-25% of CRA, NEC or GERM but in 40% of PIT. Abnormal TSH responses to TRH were observed in 64% of CRA and in 29% of NEC. Low basal serum cortisol was found in 21 or 6% of patients with CRA or NEC, but in 100 or 60% of patients with PIT or GERM, respectively. Diabetes insipidus was diagnosed in 13.6% of all patients. Surgery produced few additional disturbances in endocrine function, except for the incidence of diabetes insipidus which was doubled. Gonadotropic deficiency was found in most patients of pubertal age with CRA and PIT. They were readily differentiated by the high prolactin or growth hormone (GH) levels of the latter. This study shows that: (1) CRA and NEC in the prepubertal age group, and CRA and PIT in the pubertal age group were the most frequent tumor oncotypes found; (2) visual abnormalities are the most frequent initial signs; (3) endocrine disturbances are highly frequent before surgery, while surgical intervention had little effect in increasing endocrine morbidity; (4) NEC, even though producing less endocrine dysfunctions than other tumor types, are an important etiology of endocrine sequelae because of their high relative frequency in children with prepubertal age.