Types of Brain Tumors

Brain tumors are classified depending on the exact site of the tumor, the type of tissue involved, whether they are noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), and other factors. Sometimes, tumors that start out being less invasive can become more invasive. Tumors may occur at any age, but many types of tumors occur most often in a certain age group. In adults, gliomas and meningiomas are most common.

Pediatric brain tumors are diagnosed most often between the ages of three and eight, but can occur at any age. Children with brain tumors are diagnosed and treated by our partner, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago's Falk Brain Tumor Center. One of the first institutions in the country to develop a cohesive, multidisciplinary program for brain tumor treatment, Lurie Children's treats over 67 percent of children in the Chicago area who are newly diagnosed with this condition, and treat many additional patients with recurrent disease.


Gliomas are not a specific type of cancer. Glioma is a general term for a group of tumors that start in glial cells. Glial cells are the tissue that surrounds and supports neurons in the brain. A number of tumors can be considered gliomas, including:

Astrocytomas Brain Stem Gliomas
Ependymomas Mixed Gliomas
Oligoastrocytomas Oligodendrogliomas
Optic Nerve Gliomas

Other types of brain tumors

Craniopharyngiomas Germinomas
Medulloblastomas Meningiomas
Metastatic Brain Tumors Neuro phakomatosis
Pinneal Region Tumors Pituitary Tumors
Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors (PNET)

Additional Information

American Brain Tumor Association
National Brain Tumor Society
National Cancer Institute


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