Types of Brain Tumors

Glioma Tumors Represent 32 Percent of All Tumors


More than 120 types of primary brain tumors exist, making effective treatment perplexing. This includes malignant or benign tumors. Primary brain tumors are named according to the type of cells or by the part of the brain where it originates.

The glioma family of tumors results in 44.4 percent of all tumors with the glioblastoma being the most common type at 54 percent and the astrocytoma accounting for 22 percent of all gliomas. Individually, the meningioma is the most common type of brain tumor at 35 percent.1

Secondary or metastatic brain tumors generate the greatest incidence rate. Breast, lung and melanoma are the most common cancers that spread to the brain.


Common Types of Primary Brain Tumors



Astrocytes can develop in any part of the brain or spinal cord. They are star-shaped glial cells where the tumor originates. It can be any grade but in adults, it most often arises in the cerebrum.



The tumor grows from the meninges, the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. As it grows, meningioma compresses other brain tissue, which can affect cranial nerves.



An ependymoma, part of the glial family, is a rare type of primary brain or spinal cord tumor. It originates in the ependyma, the cells that line the passageways in the brain where cerebrospinal fluid is produced.



The tumor, usually occurring in the cerebrum, forms from cells that create the fatty substance that covers and protects nerves. The cerebrum, which is located in the anterior or front portion of the brain, determines personality, intelligence, sensory impulse and motor function.



The medulloblastoma is highly malignant (Grade IV) and usually originates in the cerebellum, the region of the brain that plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception, coordination and motor control.


Brain Stem Glioma

Brain stem gliomas are tumors located in the area of the brain called the brain stem, which connects the spinal cord with the brain and is located in the lowest portion of the brain, just above the back of the neck.

1. Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) 2012.